UCLA continued to show the variety of its skills. The aggressive Bruins, pressing and running like happy cubs, gave their northern leaguemates an eyeful. Gail Goodrich helped shoot Oregon out of sight, 91-74, with 27 points and then Keith Erickson got 22 as Oregon State fell, 83-53. OSU's Jim Jarvis, who got to UCLA for 28 points, could hardly believe his eyes. "Every time I turned around there were more of them," he said, shaking his head, "and they were jumping higher."
Catching the frisky Bruins in the AAWU was beginning to look like an impossible chore. But STANFORD, for one, may just have a chance. The Indians looked solid enough while trimming Washington State 70-43 and Washington 80-68.
San Francisco's shooters were back on target again. Ollie Johnson hit 10 for 12, Erwin Mueller seven for seven, all from within eight feet, as the Dons routed San Jose State 77-53. Then San Francisco breezed past Santa Barbara 102-69.
Western AC observers can hardly wait for NEW MEXICO'S stingy defenders, the nation's best, and BRIGHAM YOUNG'S freewheeling runners to tangle next month. But meanwhile the Lobos put down Arizona State 69-48 and Arizona 64-42 for their 11th straight. And BYU's Cougars, who would rather shoot than defend, raced past Seattle 92-72 and Utah State 99-90. But there was some consolation for the Aggies. They edged Utah 86-84 in Salt Lake City, where the Redskins almost never lose, as LeRoy Walker scored 33 points and big Wayne Estes got his usual 32.
Idaho State's DeWayne Cruse must have set some kind of a record for futility when his team lost to WEBER STATE 64-55. First the officials called a technical foul on him, then a second and a third and finally one on the ISU bench. Minutes later Cruse, called for a personal foul, threw up his arms in disgust and accidentally caught a referee full in the face. It cost him a fourth technical before the sensitive referee threw him out of the game.
THE TOP THREE:
1. OKLAHOMA CITY (10-3)
2. HOUSTON (9-6)
3. BAYLOR (8-3)
It did not take long for the hurly-burly Southwest Conference, where upsets are the norm, to begin playing an old familiar game. BAYLOR survived the incessant roar of leather-lunged rooters at College Station to edge Texas A&M 80-77 on sophomore Darrell Hardy's twisting reverse layup and two pressure free throws in the very last minute. But then came retribution for the precocious Bears, RICE, beaten 10 straight times, slowed down Baylor's run-and-shoot game with a tight zone defense and shocked Baylor 59-56, and at Waco, too. "We were ripe to be plucked," mourned Coach Bill Menefee. "They just whipped us good."
Before the first week of conference play was out, Texas A&M lost again, to SMU 89-77 and TCU, which had not won a conference game in almost two years, ended its 21-game losing streak. Led by sophomores Wayne Kreis and Stan Farr, a 6-foot-9 center, who both scored 17 points, the Frogs surprised Texas 77-64.