1. OKLAHOMA CITY (9-2)
2. BAYLOR (7-2)
3. TEXAS A&M (7-2)
Oklahoma City's Abe Lemons, watching DE PAUL'S tough, swarming defense throttle Brigham Young's celebrated fast break during an 84-75 victory over the Cougars in the semifinals of the All-College tournament, was extravagant in praise of the clever Blue Demons. "That's the smartest club I've seen," he said. "I just hope we can play 'em well." Lemons' towering Chiefs had certainly looked capable enough while routing Rice 93-63 and Xavier of Cincinnati 90-75. But De Paul, surprisingly, beat bigger Oklahoma City off the boards, broke loose Jesse Nash (he scored 20 points) and Jim Murphy for baskets with a weaving pattern offense, and the Blue Demons whipped the Chiefs 67-60 for the title.
The Sun Carnival at El Paso turned out to be a showcase for NEW MEXICO'S Mel Daniels, a talented 6-foot-9 sophomore. He scored 21 points and picked off 19 rebounds to lead the Lobos past TCU 76-58 and then discouraged Texas Western with 20 points and 20 rebounds. Daniels' heroics gave cautious New Mexico a 55-47 win, its first over the Miners in nine years.
THE TOP THREE:
1. UCLA (9-1)
2. SAN FRANCISCO (8-1)
3. BRIGHAM YOUNG (7-3)
The West had a familiar look, UCLA, with its devastating zone press and quick-as-a-wink shooters intimidating almost everyone in sight, had nine straight victories after sweeping through a strong field in the Los Angeles Classic (page 20).
Going into the West Coast AC tournament at San Jose, SANTA CLARA had to be the team most unlikely to succeed. The young Broncos had lost six in a row but, somehow, they worked their way past Santa Barbara 91-69 and Pacific 75-71 while unbeaten SAN FRANCISCO, the favorite, pushed over Pepperdine 103-64 and San Jose State 60-57. But it looked like the end for Santa Clara when the Dons took a 49-33 lead at half time. Then the Broncs' Eric Paulson, a long-shooting playmaker, began bombing away, and junior Rich Levitt found he could float his gentle hook shots over San Francisco's Ollie Johnson. With 55 seconds to go, Levitt flipped in an over-the-shoulder layup and Santa Clara won 73-71. Mused Coach Dick Garibaldi, "Talent is both physical and mental." And, he might have added, unpredictable.
For a while it appeared that OREGON STATE, which had won all eight previous Far West Classics at Portland, Ore. would not even make the final of the ninth one. But the Beavers managed to outlast Army 65-64 in overtime and then edged Northwestern 67-65 on Jim Jarvis' jumper. Undefeated Tennessee tried to hem in State with its zone defense and a nagging slowdown, but the patient Beavers decided to grind it out with the Vols. The strategy worked. State led 22-8 at the half, made five out of 10 shots in the second half while Tennessee, thoroughly frustrated by then, got only three baskets. The Beavers won 48-27.