How do you catch a runaway Longhorn? That was the question in the Southwest Conference and nobody seemed to have an answer. Texas A&M Coach Bob Rogers thought he could do it by stopping Texas' inside shooting. He succeeded at that, but Jim Gilbert and Jim Puryear shot over the Aggies for 42 points and the Longhorns won 70-59 at College Station, where A&M hadn't lost in three years. "We didn't think anybody could shoot like that," groaned Rogers. SMU went after Texas' outside shooters and got beaten inside when Mike Humphrey, Paul Fultz, Mutt Heller and Larry Franks fired away briskly to insure a 77-62 win and a 7-0 conference record. This left Rice the only serious challenger. The second-place Owls stayed alive by beating Baylor 62-54 and Texas Tech 89-77.
Arizona State's Sun Devils, with Art Becker and Joe Caldwell shooting well, overpowered New Mexico State 89-62 and Arizona 73-54 for their 44th straight at Tempe. Houston lost first-stringer Folly Malone and three other players for academic deficiencies, and then lost to Tulsa 76-69. But Texas Western earned a big victory. After beating Arizona 65-50, the Miners edged Utah State 57-55. The top three:
1. ARIZONA STATE (18-2)
2. TEXAS WESTERN (14-5)
3. TEXAS (12-5)
Coach Vince Cazzetta of Seattle, irked by what he called "willful interference—calculated or otherwise" in recruiting and scheduling by Athletic Director Eddie O'Brien, announced he was resigning at season's end. This in turn irked The Very Reverend A. A. Lemieux, Seattle's president, who fired Cazzetta on the spot. The team, meanwhile, kept winning. Center John Tresvant pulled down 40 rebounds as Seattle manhandled Montana 100-63, and the Chieftains then whipped Pacific 82-56.
Oregon State had problems, too. While Terry Baker sat on the bench nursing a toe infection and muttering, "This is ridiculous," Portland defeated the Beavers 67-58. But it was another story the next night at Corvallis, where Oregon State won 66-51. Oregon had even worse luck. The Ducks were beaten by powerful Idaho twice, 79-61 and 88-78 (see page 50).
The Big Six race is so confused it is hard to believe only six teams are in it. While Stanford was losing to USC 61-57 and beating UCLA 86-78, Washington moved into first place. The Huskies, executing Coach Johnny Grayson's finely timed screens skillfully, turned back California 64-62 and 65-58.
Brigham Young defeated New Mexico 76-73 and Wyoming 89-77 to tie Arizona State for the Western AC lead, but an even bigger surprise was Utah. Allen Holmes, recovered at last from a 1960 auto accident that threatened to cripple him for life, led the rejuvenated Utes past Wyoming 104-73 and New Mexico 74-57. Colorado State's Bill Green pushed in 48 points as the Rams thrashed Denver 79-57. The top three:
1. OREGON STATE (13-5)
2. STANFORD (13-5)
3. UTAH STATE (17-4)