Syracuse's Fred Lewis was worried, too, but not about injuries. "I don't know a thing about George Washington," he said. There was not much to know. Syracuse, going early from a 2-3 zone to a zone press, piled up a 12-0 lead and then coasted home 108-68 as sophomore Wayne Ward and George Hicker each scored 18 points.
There were signs that Providence, a perennial eastern leader, may not win its usual 20 games for the first time in 10 years. The Friars, without graduated Jimmy Walker's touch, gave VILLANOVA a tussle, but lost 58-54. "This year could be a test for our fans," said Providence Coach Joe Mullaney grimly.
St. John's, however, looked sharp against Virginia. Forward John Warren and Center Rudy Bogad wrecked the Cavaliers' defense with their shooting, and the Redmen won easily 82-63. Niagara's celebrated Calvin Murphy was everything people expected him to be (page 33), but LIU beat the Eagles 84-79. But NYU lost to SETON HALL 96-73 and Manhattan was upset by BRIDGE-PORT 80-72.
Some other independents also opened on a bright note, RUTGERS, playing tough defense, trounced Pitt 100-74, while FAIRFIELD surprised Canisius 65-54 and PENN STATE defeated Maryland 76-71. Georgetown, however, was beaten by AMERICAN U. 80-67. ST. JOSEPH'S rolled over Albright 90-62, LA SALLE rallied to take Rider 59-50 and PENN beat Navy 87-69.
Cornell made it three wins for the Ivy League, beating Colgate 92-84, but there were three losses, too. VERMONT edged Dartmouth 67-65, CONNECTICUT defeated Yale 70-62 and BOSTON U. upset Harvard 78-77.
About the best anyone can hope for in the Pacific Eight this year—and next year, too—is second place behind UCLA. And that race may be more interesting than the one for the title. Two teams—Washington State and USC—fancied themselves in it before the season began, but the Trojans got a jolt when Steve Jennings suffered a bone separation in his ankle. Without Jennings to set things in motion, use was hard-pressed to beat Idaho 59-50 and Loyola of Los Angeles 68-60. WASHINGTON STATE, however, looked good beating Gonzaga 95-66.
California also had high hopes until 5'10" Russ Critchfield suffered a shoulder separation in the early minutes against Idaho. But despite Critchfield's loss (for three to four weeks), Cal won 67-55. WASHINGTON, quicker than it has been in years, beat Miami of Florida twice, 96-54 and 81-80.
Santa Clara, the West Coast AC favorite, bombed San Francisco State 106 54, but the Broncos arc beginning to worry about SAN FRANCISCO. The Dons, playing careful defense, beat Oregon State 63-52. SAN JOSE STATE, a 94-59 victim of ARIZONA'S full-court press, recovered to beat Arizona State 78-75.
Running and gunning, when it works, is the style WYOMING Coach Bill Strannigan likes best, and his Cowpokes did plenty of both while beating Nevada Southern 120-87. UTAH, hemmed in for a while by Texas Tech's zone defense, found a way out to win 70-58.