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The Gringos, a Tijuana Brass-type band, were hired to replace the Arizona State pep group, and suddenly everything was upbeat. The Sun Devils, losers in five of six previous games, stopped Utah 93-88, then Brig-ham Young 109-94. Their victims had been tied for the Western AC lead. The back-to-back wins left State (2-1) directly behind new leader Arizona (3-0), which also beat Utah (90-64) and BYU (76-70). Wyoming lost to Colorado State 78-68 as the Kerr twins, Lloyd and Floyd, combined for 32 points.
In the Pacific Eight Washington beat Oregon 60-54 and Washington State won from Oregon State 61-60. Then Washington State upset first-place Washington 62-55. Oregon and Oregon State split two games, the Ducks taking the first 66-52, the Beavers the second 65-53.
Weber State's 12-game win streak was ended by Seattle 100-62. High-scoring Marv Roberts of Utah State (27.5 points) and Simmie Hill of West Texas State, averaging four fewer points a game, went at it. Roberts triumphed 43-36, but the Texans took the game 102-92. Busy Oklahoma City beat Abilene Christian 104-83, Arkansas 84-75 and SMU 96-74 before losing a rematch to the Mustangs 103-84. Rice surprised Florida State 83-80, and New Mexico State, still unbeaten, took Tennessee Tech 81-65.
Big Ten teams have mementos they distribute freely to all opponents: black and blue marks, bruised ribs and headaches. They are operating at optimum efficiency this season with their best-ever record against outsiders, 64-30. John Wooden, whose UCLA Bruins defeated Northwestern 81-67, was well aware of the mayhem. "Board play is a lot rougher than on the West Coast and there's much more body contact," he said, attempting to sound mild. Lew Alcindor of the Bruins got a liberal dose of body contact from 6'7" Jerry Sutton, a muscular 245-pound fill-in for ailing first-string Center Jim Sarno. Sutton gave Alcindor a taste of what life among the pros will be like, firmly establishing position and allowing Alcindor just two defensive rebounds in the first half. It took a stern talking-to by Wooden at half time to get his Bruins going. They had trailed 45-35—the first time this had happened to them all year—before Wooden aroused them by telling them he was ashamed of their defensive work on the boards. The Bruins came out loaded for Wildcats in the second half and scored eight straight points, easily pulling away. Alcindor proved he was far from outclassed, finishing with 16 rebounds and 35 points. The next night, with Alcindor getting 34 points, the Bruins took care of Loyola of Chicago 84-65.
Illinois put its muscle to use, stunning Notre Dame 91-57 as Greg Jackson, a 6'8", 255-pound center, forsook his early-season politeness. Said Coach Harvey Schmidt: "He really got with it. He started bouncing people around." In between bounces the Irish committed 29 turnovers. "It was," said Coach Johnny Dee, "a nightmare."
Ohio State, scoring in bursts, had two comeback wins on the road, beating Georgia Tech 73-66 and Cornell 96-78. In league competition Purdue, with its fast break working smoothly and with Rick Mount getting 34 points, disposed of Minnesota 102-79. Northwestern downed Michigan 100-85, but the Wolverines came back to defeat Michigan State 75-70.