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Some of the wildest scenes this side of the O.K. Corral erupted in the Southwest Conference. One incident began when Ron Peret of Texas A&M, going in for a layup, was fouled from behind by Tom Friedman of Baylor. An Aggie teammate decked Friedman with an elbow to the jaw, and then Aggie fans hurried out of the stands to get in a few swings themselves. Preventing an out-and-out riot were the Aggie band, which brought the stands to attention with the national anthem, and the A&M players, who formed a protective circle around Friedman. As it was, Friedman wound up with a bruised back, shoulder and head, plus five stitches in his lip. The first-place Aggies, incidentally, won 86-74 and took a two-game lead over the Bears. At Texas Tech, fans littered the court with debris before the contest with the Aggies. Then, after the Red Raiders had lost 71-70, when a last-second basket was nullified by a traveling violation, the Tech rooters showered the floor again.
Action also boiled in the Western AC. Because of the guerrilla warfare in an earlier game between New Mexico and Arizona State, six extra police were on hand for the rematch in Tempe, Ariz., but even Marshal Dillon would have had trouble with this one. Punches were thrown on the floor and in the stands, and both benches charged out for a second-half melee. When it was all over, 46 fouls had been called, and the Lobos had won 84-75 as Petie Gibson put in seven points in overtime. Utah, with Mike Newlin getting 37 points, beat the Brigham Young Cougars 98-85 to tie them for the lead. Arizona, victor over New Mexico, 77-75, might have been alone at the top were it not for a 68-67 loss to Wyoming, which in turn was beaten by Arizona State 87-79. So tight is the race, all six teams could still finish in a tie.
The two biggest upsets were double-overtime affairs, with West Texas State beating New Mexico State 93-92 and San Jose State ending Santa Clara's 21-game win streak 73-69. Dennis Awtrey kept the Broncos going with 37 points—18 of them in a row—and it was not until he fouled out that the Spartans were able to prevail.
UCLA remained invincible. Extending their winning streak to 38, the Bruins squelched Washington 53-44, Oregon State 91-66 and Oregon 103-69 in Pacific Eight contests. They did trail the Huskies 32-28 with 11:39 left and led Oregon by only 41-37 at the half before pulling away with their infamous second-half blitz. Second-place Washington State beat USC 64-52 and Stanford 69-68. Weber State controlled the Big Sky as it easily defeated Idaho 85-61 and Idaho State 94-75 to bring its league record to 13-0.
1. LA SALLE (22-1)
Philadelphia's Palestra, the scene of some dandy imbroglios through the years, had its biggest ever when St. Joseph's met Seton Hall. One fan took a swipe at Hawk Coach Jack McKinney; others threw cans of beer—unopened, of course—and one struck a player. The game itself was a fine rowdydow of flying elbows and uppercuts that erupted at one point into a free-for-all with both benches emptying and fans rushing onto the floor to toss punches. Between rounds the teams threw in some basketball, St. Joseph's getting the decision 92-76.