The defense actually went pretty well in the first half, except that Mike Lewis got three fouls before he had worked up a sweat and had to be replaced. Alcindor got only 11 points that half, far fewer than his 32 points in the first half against USC, but UCLA had a comfortable 13-point lead and Duke's Bob Verga was not hitting his long distance jump shots.
In the second half Bruin Guards Lucius Allen and Mike Warren started hitting, and UCLA raced off to a 31-point lead, egged on by a rooting section thirsty for blood. UCLA also kept its annoying zone press going throughout. When the margin got to 33, Wooden took Alcindor out. Verga never got his jump shot sighted in, and the Bruins won 88-54. Mike Lynn, sitting quietly and soberly at the scorers' table, chuckled occasionally toward the end. Alcindor had been held to 19 points, but Warren, a junior from South Bend, Ind., had 26 and Allen had 19.
Wooden was unconcerned with Alcindor's point production. "I don't know what he got and I don't care," he said. "I seriously believe Lew feels the same way." Duke's Vic Bubas gave Alcindor credit for making a "fantastic difference" in the game—drawing the full attention of two men, blocking seven shots, getting 16 rebounds and scaring off any drives to the basket. Bubas added, " Warren and Allen are as fine a guard combination as you'll find in the country."
Saturday night was a little different. All-America candidate Verga found the range for the first time this season for Duke, throwing in shots from intercontinental distances. The Blue Devils stayed in the 2-3 zone except for a brief and disastrous attempt at a 1-3-1, but Alcindor was more aggressive and his teammates did a better job of feeding the ball up to him through the forest of arms. He made 18 of 22 field-goal attempts and two of seven free throws for 38 points, plus 22 rebounds and some blocked shots. ("The most effective word I can use about his defense is 'intimidation,' " said Bubas.)
Alcindor's teammates from last season's unbeaten freshman team were much improved over the night before. Lynn Shackelford, counted on to hit on jump shots from the corners when Alcindor was wrapped in bodies, made 10 out of 13 shots from the floor. Lucius Allen added 20 points, and Kenny Heitz, coming off the bench, played well enough to have a starting job from now on. He was the cleverest Bruin at floating in passes to Alcindor. The final score was 107-87, and long before the game was over the Bruin rooters (who used to yell, "This is our town") bellowed in unison, "This is our country." They were being cocky, not patriotic, and not one of them was worrying about Lacey and Lynn, a couple of pearls missing from a treasure chest.
So the man-to-man defense had failed miserably, and the 2-3 zone had failed miserably. Coach Bubas was asked if somewhere, maybe in tea leaves or the stars, there could be found a way to beat Alcindor, Warren, Shackelford, Allen and Heitz. He answered slowly and deliberately, and the reporters gathered around could almost feel the presence of hundreds of worried basketball coaches straining to hear.
"I suppose that if I had one game to play against them and my job depended on it," he said, "I would slow the pace way down, play a zone defense, hit 50% of the shots and hope we could do some kind of job on the boards. Basically I don't believe in that kind of basketball, but in a game where the ball is put up to the hoop many, many times, they sure do have an advantage."
Thus, the next thing UCLA probably will face is a slowdown. If that does not work, and it is not likely to in the face of Johnny Wooden's press, the Bruins might go undefeated clear into January 1968, when they have a date to meet Houston's huge, tough players in the Astrodome. That game could draw the largest college basketball crowd in history.