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Previously unbeaten Niagara was a double-upset victim. Villanova's "ball" defense held Calvin Murphy to three points under his average, the Wildcats' Howard Porter scored 32 points and grabbed 18 rebounds and Fran O'Hanlon recorded 12 assists as the Philadelphians topped the Purple Eagles 102-92. Niagara then lost to St. Peter's 77-73.
Wake Forest, trailing by as many as 16 points in the first half at North Carolina, stormed back to upset the Tar Heels 91-90 despite Charles Scott's 43 points. John Lewkowicz of the Deacons dropped in two free throws with four seconds remaining to clinch the victory.
1. S. CAROLINA (12-1)
Al Williams is the only starter back from the Drake team that finished third in the NCAA tournament in March, and no one except Coach Maury John figured the Bulldogs could repeat as Missouri Valley Conference champion. But last week, with six junior-college stars from as far away as Rockville Centre, N.Y. and Houston replacing graduated players, Drake defeated Bradley 65-55 and Cincinnati 63-57 to stay on top in the MVC. The transfers, already feeling right at home, combined with Williams to shoot 55% in the second period and pull away from a half-time tie with the Braves. Against the Bearcats, New York's Jeff Halliburton scored two baskets in the closing minutes to snuff out a Cincinnati rally that had cut Drake's lead from 15 points to two.
At the tail end of the Missouri Valley race, Memphis State reluctantly kept alive its unhappy streak. The Tigers lost 77-61 to Tulsa for their 26th consecutive league defeat over three seasons. In the three years it has been a member of the MVC, Memphis State has won just one conference game.
After losing to Drake, Bradley faced UCLA at Chicago in a game that shaped up as a rout. The star of the Braves is 5'4" Frankie Sylvester, and players that size are hardly the sort to intimidate the tall Bruins. But Bradley Coach Joe Stowell turned to the slowdown offense that had bothered UCLA before, and his team, shooting only 19 times in the first half, led at intermission 30-26. Then the Uclans, also as before, edged ahead in the second period for a 61-56 victory. The next night they defeated Loyola of Chicago 94-72.
While defending champion Colorado lost its Big Eight opener to Nebraska 60-58, Kansas State took a stronger hold on the league lead by winning 71-64 on the Cornhuskers' court. The Wildcats next defeated St. Francis (Pa.) 78-71.