Alabama, fresh from winning the Mobile Classic with a 90-83 victory over Tulane, got its chance to silence the nation's and LSU's big gun, Pistol Pete Maravich, and, in a manner of speaking, succeeded. The slender sophomore was held to his lowest total of the year, 30 points, but the other Tigers more than took up the slack and LSU won 81-70. Not since 1951 have the Georgia Bulldogs had a winning season, but Ken Rosemond's surprising young squad is now 5-1. The Bulldogs took the Triangle Classic in Raleigh, beating Yale 79-75 and North Carolina State 62-58. The biggest reason for Georgia's success is 6'11" sophomore Center Bob Lienhard. After battling the flu the day before, Lienhard almost beat State single-handed. He hit six of 10 shots from the floor, made seven free throws, grabbed 23 rebounds and blocked 12 shots. "He's the most coachable player I've ever seen," says Rosemond. Kentucky beat Notre Dame 81-73 in Louisville.
The action in Miami Beach was a little too tough for visitors as Miami won the Hurricane Classic with a 102-91 victory over NYU. Tournament favorite Santa Clara lost in the first round when NYU and Adolfo Porrata surprised the Broncos 93-88 in overtime. Guard Porrata collected 39 points, seven in the extra period, to lead the Violets. The other northern visitor, Dartmouth, was beaten 110-91 by Miami and then 77-69 by Santa Clara in the consolation game.
In Jacksonville, at the Gator Bowl tournament, the northerners and the westerners fared a lot better. Defending champion Florida was knocked out in the opening round by St. Joseph's of Philadelphia 89-69, and Washington took care of Mississippi State 82-80 after almost blowing a 17-point halftime lead. In the championship game St. Joseph's edged the Huskies 79-74.
Duke Coach Vic Bubas gave Mike Lewis the O.K. to shoot anytime he wanted to before the season began, and against Wake Forest Lewis went wild. He made 35 points, hitting on 14 of 22 from the floor, as the Blue Devils won 103-76. "I'm never going to tell him to quit shooting now," remarked an elated Bubas after the game.
1. HOUSTON (13-0)
2. OKLAHOMA CITY (8-0)
3. NEW MEXICO STATE (10-1)
Before the final game of the All-Sports Classic in Dallas, Western Kentucky Coach John Oldham predicted that for his team to beat California it would have to stop Cal's big man (6'11" Bob Presley) and the little man (5'10" Russ Critchfield). Despite the presence of a goodly number of red-towel waving Kentuckians, Oldham's team failed to stop either. Critchfield got 31 points and Presley 28 and 19 rebounds. Still, the 'Toppers scored their second upset in two nights by winning 96-85 behind Butch Kaufman's 25 points and Wayne Chapman's 24. Western had advanced to the finals by surprising Indiana 110-91 with Chapman, the tournament's Most Valuable Player, getting 34 points. Cal, cheered by its Straw Hat Band that had driven 1,800 miles, held off SMU in a first-round game 88-84 as Critchfield collected 33 points, hitting 15 for 25 from the floor. In the consolation game, host SMU got its first victory of the year with a king-size upset of Indiana, 91-84, disappointing two planeloads of Hoosiers who had stopped by on their way to the Rose Bowl.
Oklahoma City took the nation's oldest holiday tournament when it defeated Brigham Young 91-88 for the All-College title. The Chiefs' Rich Travis had BYU defenders throwing up their hands in frustration and looking to the bench for aid as he made 20 of 38 field-goal attempts on his way to 45 points.
It was a good week for New Mexico schools. New Mexico State traveled to Jonesboro for the Arkansas State Invitational and brought home the trophy. New Mexico stayed home and won its own Lobo Invitational for the third straight year, defeating Rhode Island 75-62.