Nine games were played as the NCAA tournament went through its first shakedown (page 28). For the most part form prevailed, but Miami of Ohio, whose 14-10 record is the worst of any team in the tournament, beat Notre Dame 63-60 with a tenacious defense and excellent foul shooting. Mike Wren, a 5'9" sophomore, hit on 12 of 13 foul shots for the Redskins, who missed just four of 27 attempts, while the Irish, who had to play the second half without high-scoring Austin Carr—he had reinjured his ankle—failed on 11 of 27. In the second half of that Mideast Regional, Marquette defeated. Murray State 82-62. George Thompson, a speech major at Marquette, had plenty to talk about after putting in 23 points, 14 of them in the second half and eight of those in a quick burst after Murray had narrowed its deficit to 53-50.
Mike Maloy of Davidson was the top scorer during the first-round games. He had 31 points as the Wildcats came from nine points behind and wore down Villanova 75-61. The most spectacular single shot was a 79-footer by Bill Zopf of Duquesne, which helped beat St. Joseph's 74-52. Zopf banked in his tape-measure shot as the first-half buzzer sounded. A third winner in the East Regional was St. John's, which blew an early nine-point lead and then closed with a flourish to eliminate Princeton 72-63.
DID YOU HEAR THE ONE ABOUT THE AGGIE WHO THOUGHT HE COULD BEAT TRINITY? HEE, HEE, HA, HA, HO. This was the optimistic banner displayed at the Midwest Regional contest between Trinity of Texas and Texas A&M. Once again, though, it was the Aggies who had the last laugh as they won 81-66. "Neither team had any offensive efficiency," was the way Dayton's Don Donoher understated his 52-50 loss to Colorado State. Offensive efficiency reached its nadir during the final 2:27, during which State made only three of six foul shots, Dayton just one of three. Worse yet, the Rams lost the ball with 19 seconds to go on a careless pass but got it back when Dayton was unable to get the ball safely inbounds and then botched the resultant jump ball.
To remind Seattle that it would have to face Willie Sojourner of Weber State, the marquee at the Mission Inn in Las Cruces, N. Mex. was altered. Instead of billing the Sojourners, a musical group that was at the motel, the last "s" was dropped to make the marquee read: THE FABULOUS SOJOURNER TONIGHT. As Seattle Coach Morris Buck-waiter checked into the motel he quipped, "You really know how to hurt a guy." Sojourner hurt Buckwalter even more, putting in 17 of his 22 points in the second half as Weber State won 75-73. In the second game of that Far West doubleheader, New Mexico State stopped Brigham Young 74-62.
Colorado (20-6), Kentucky (22-4) and North Carolina (25-3) also qualified for the NCAA tournament by winning conference titles. The last remaining berth goes to the winner of the Missouri Valley playoff between Drake (22-4) and Louisville (20-4). The loser will go to the NIT, which completed its lineup with Army (16-8), Florida (18-8), Fordham (17-8), Kansas (20-6), Ohio University (16-8), South Carolina (20-6), St. Peter's (20-6), Tennessee (18-6), Tulsa (19-7) and Wyoming (19-8). Previously selected were Boston College, Rutgers, Southern Illinois, Temple and West Texas State.
1. UCLA (25-1)
2. SANTA CLARA (26-1)
3. WEBER STATE (25-2)
With 19 seconds to go, it was USC 44, UCLA 44, when Trojan Ernie Powell passed the ball inbounds. With 15 seconds remaining, Powell and teammate Don Crenshaw maneuvered for position on the right side of the key. Five seconds later Powell took a pass, worked behind Crenshaw's screen and prepared for one last shot. With six seconds left his 20-foot jumper went up and then down through the net. UCLA, in a desperate race against the clock, got the ball to Sidney Wicks after two long passes. He arched a shot for the basket just as the buzzer sounded, but the ball caromed off the rim, and so ended the Bruins' 41-game winning streak. UCLA had barely survived the night before, beating the Trojans 61-55 in double overtime, and it would have lost that game had Lynn Shackelford not put in a 25-foot shot just as the first overtime buzzer went off. After the big upset, USC Coach Bob Boyd credited the ball control of Powell, Crenshaw (who had 20 points in the second game), Mack Calvin and Steve Jennings. The four also hounded the Bruins on defense, so much so that Coach John Wooden finally had the 6'9" Wicks bring the ball upcourt. In another Pacific Eight double overtime affair Stanford surprised California 83-79 after coming from 10 points behind in the last three minutes of regulation play.
Santa Clara beat Pacific 81-69, and then stopped St. Mary's 72-56.