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Toledo, the Mid-American favorite, started off with a bang against Hillsdale, winning 136-88. MIAMI of Ohio got caught in a shooting hoedown with Ball State, while Coach Tates Locke, a basketball purist, grimaced on the bench. Happily for Locke, the Redskins won in overtime 107-100.
Louisville's competition in the Missouri Valley hardly looked dangerous. CINCINNATI was pressed to get by Indiana State 83-79, while BRADLEY had its troubles before beating St. Cloud 87-71, and TULSA had to work to take St. Mary's of Texas 70-57. ST. LOUIS, however, drubbed Kansas State Teachers 94-53.
Among the top independents, DAYTON breezed past Northern Illinois 78-61, as Donnie May, obviously over his knee troubles, scored 22 points and took 28 rebounds. LOYOLA of Chicago buried Augustana 125-79; NOTRE DAME swamped St. Joseph's of Indiana 97-72; MARQUETTE trounced St. Thomas 87-45, and DEPAUL also beat Augustana 111-79. SOUTHERN ILLINOIS, enjoying its new major college status though still playing 14 small college games this season, won twice, over Sam Houston State 70-54 and MacMurray 78-51.
It was hardly a fair test for HOUSTON, but the freewheeling Cougars enjoyed themselves immensely against Sacramento State. While George Reynolds, a handy junior-college transfer, buzzed around the bewildered Hornets, stealing passes, leading the fast break and handing out assists—mostly to Elvin Hayes—Houston ran over State 110-79. The Big E, playing the corner regularly now that 6'9" Ken Spain has learned to operate at center, scored 35 points.
Texas at el Paso, in the shiny new 8,400-seat El Paso Coliseum for the first time, coasted past Texas at Arlington 80-65, though the Miners' inside game was not exactly devastating, much to Coach Don Haskins' chagrin.
SMU's Bob Prewitt, taking over for retired Coach Doc Hayes, almost had the thrill of his young life. His Mustangs attacked vehemently and, led by Gary Sibley's 23 points, had favored VANDERBILT in a 78-78 tie at the end of regulation time. In the overtime Vandy went into a stall, but only until Tom Hagan got a chance to stir up things. Hagan, who scored 34 points in all, threw in seven quick ones, and Vanderbilt squeezed through 88-84. Prewitt was pleased with his team, but, he said, "the object of the game is to win. We aren't satisfied with a close one."
Another new coach, TEXAS' Leon Black, had a more successful debut. His Longhorns whipped Mississippi 95-82. TEXAS A&M beat Louisiana Tech 84-77, while BAYLOR had it easy against Austin, winning 90-61. But Rice and Arkansas lost, the Owls to GEORGIA TECH 84-70, the Razorbacks to MISSOURI 74-58.
New Princeton coach Pete Carril had legitimate worries before his team played Army. His two big men were ailing, 6'9" Chris Thomforde with a bruised heel and 6'8" sophomore Mike Mardy, Thomforde's substitute, with a broken nose. They both played, but Army went after Carril's Tigers with the kind of aggressive verve the Cadets usually reserve for Navy. They crowded Princeton's freelance shooters on defense, Mike Noonan and Steve Hunt scored 41 points and Army led with eight minutes to play. But the Cadets lost three players, including Noonan and Hunt, on fouls, and Princeton Guard Joe Heiser began slipping through the Army defense on drives. Heiser scored 10 points in the last five minutes (he had 23 for the game), and the Tigers pulled out a 62-59 victory.