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"This game has all the earmarks of being one of the finest ever played in Nashville," said Vanderbilt Coach Roy Skinner before his Commodores took on North Carolina. But in a tense, rugged first half, ears were red from embarrassment as both teams committed schoolyard errors. Suddenly, Kenny Campbell hit two jump shots and Bo Wyenandt added a third to give Vanderbilt a 33-26 lead at the half. Fouls plagued the Tar Heels in the second half and, though the visitors outscored Vandy from the floor, they could make only 10 of 22 free throws. The Commodores won 89-76. Earlier in the week, Vandy defeated Auburn 78-65, while North Carolina thumped Kent State 107-83, despite Doug Grayson's 18 straight field goals and 41 points.
Elsewhere in the SEC, Kentucky was looking like the power of old. While Adolph Rupp switched starting lineups, his young Wildcats battered Florida 99-76 and Xavier 111-76 before solving Penn's shuffle offense to win 64-49. Off the court, the livin' was not so easy. Negro students paraded before Kentucky home games, calling for recruitment of Negro basketball players, and berating Rupp for "superficial recruiting of black athletes at a 100% rate of non-productivity." Florida recovered from the Kentucky debacle to defeat West Virginia 82-72 as Neal Walk, the nation's leading rebounder, scored 31 points. And "Pistol Pete" Maravich continued his astounding scoring with 51 points in LSU's 90-56 win over Loyola of New Orleans. Duke salvaged some ACC pride by edging Alabama, 86-80. Maryland lost to N.C. State 75-62, but upset South Carolina 66-65.
Sophomores Mike Maloy and Doug Cook and junior Dave Moser took turns starring for Davidson. Maloy had 15 rebounds and Cook scored 18 points in a 95-68 rout of Furman, and Moser came off the bench to push the 'Cats past Michigan, 91-70.
Western Kentucky overwhelmed St. Francis of Pennsylvania 95-73, but Eastern Kentucky looked more impressive while storming from behind to knock off Dayton, 76-75. Virginia Tech finally came home and finally won, 71-67 over Wake Forest.
Houston Coach Guy Lewis' game plan is never very complicated. Sometimes it is ball control, sometimes a running game, but almost always it includes getting the ball to Elvin Hayes who, more often than not, gets it into the basket. The Big E had 33 points and 21 rebounds against Abilene Christian and the Cougars won 90-75. He was outshot by North Dakota State's Ron Schlieman, 50 points to 38, but Houston still coasted home 121-88. And when the Cougars led Illinois by only 39-37 early in the second half at Champaign, Hayes rattled in seven quick points—he had 25 in all—and Houston went on to win its fourth straight, 54-6.
Oklahoma City's Abe Lemons is another coach who does not believe in subtlety. He just turns his Chiefs loose and lets them shoot to their hearts' content. Abe loves to see the ball go in the hoop, and he was delighted when Guard Rich Travis scored 52 points as OCU beat North Texas State 97-78. Then Travis got 31, Ron Koper 29, and the Chiefs routed SMU 90-73. But TCU was tougher. The Frogs led OCU with four minutes to go before succumbing 72-71.
Texas at El Paso, playing without 6'10" Pivotman Phil Harris, who is on probation until December 15, got past Pan-American 66-55 and Arkansas State 57-48, but the Miners had their hands full with Arizona. Willie Cager's tip-in finally won for UTEP in overtime, 67-66.
Southwest Conference teams, meanwhile, were taking their usual thrashings from outsiders. Only Texas A&M, still unbeaten, looked respectable. The Aggies beat Trinity 106-95 in overtime, West Texas State 89-43 and Southwest Texas 78-74.