For more than 36 minutes Northwestern had Illinois on the run, but the Big Ten leaders caught up. Then, just as the game ended, Bob Starnes threw a 55-foot shot into the basket to win for the Illini 78-76. "It was like losing a game on a wild pitch," groaned Northwestern's Bill Rohr.
Iowa, going nowhere in the Big Ten, suddenly began winning. The Hawkeyes humbled Wisconsin 65-56 and beat Ohio State 81-74. Now only idle Indiana and Minnesota, which upset Michigan 66-63 and beat Purdue 82-73, are close to Illinois.
Colorado still had the Big Eight under control The tall Buffs turned George Parsons loose against Kansas State's zone and he cracked it with eight baskets as Colorado won 70-53. Unbeaten Loyola took its 16th, beating Kent State 96-55; Notre Dame avenged an earlier loss to Butler, winning 80-54, but lost to DePaul 83-69. Then DePaul dropped one to Dayton 57-56. The top three:
1. CINCINNATI (14-0)
2. LOYOLA OF CHICAGO (16-0)
3. ILLINOIS (12-1)
While Southwest Conference teams took a time out for exams, Arizona State learned that it isn't going to have the Western AC race to itself after all. The fast-breaking Sun Devils neatly shrugged off New Mexico's ball-control game to beat the Lobos 59-47, but they couldn't quite make it past Wyoming at Laramie, where the temperature was 25� below zero. The Cowboys, who had just beaten Arizona 84-72, were as big as Arizona State and, as it turned out, tougher off the boards. Rangy Randy Richardson plucked the rebounds away and Flynn Robinson put in 25 points as Wyoming won 88-81. The top three:
1. ARIZONA STATE (15-2)
2. TEXAS A&M (10-3)
3. TEXAS (8-5)
Coach Slats Gill of Oregon State waited almost half a season for Jim Jarvis, his much-talked-about but slow-to-produce sophomore, to adjust to the vagaries of varsity basketball. Last Saturday it finally happened. Jarvis scattered Gonzaga's zone defense with six long shots, wound up with 18 points and Oregon State won 63-47.
Utah State's LaDell Andersen found patience had some rewards, too. He told his team to let Colorado State play its customary slow-down game and just to match the scoring. Utah State did, and when Colorado State lost the ball with the score tied and a minute to play, Andersen's boys were ready. Phil Johnson made six quick points and Utah State had the game 75-68.
But there wasn't enough patience in all the world to quiet Washington's John Grayson. His team scored exactly two baskets in the first half against Stanford, the second one only 12 seconds before the buzzer. Needless to say, the Indians took that game, 57-48, then beat the Huskies again, 58-49, to hold the Big Six lead.