Iowa 6'7" Forward John Johnson is stuck in a groove, and Hawk eye fans could not be more pleased. Four times this season he has scored 33 points in a game. Iowa won three of them, the latest two victories coming last week against Minnesota and Indiana. Iowa won 90-77 and 104-89 to remain undefeated in the Big Ten and take over the lead from Illinois. The Illini, who had previously not lost a conference game, bowed to Wisconsin 66-65 when the Badgers' Albert Henry scored a layup with two seconds to play to give his team its only lead of the game. Minnesota then beat Illinois 82-73.
Notre Dame could have sold out its 11,000 seat field house twice over for its game with Marquette, and after the battle was over it was easy to see why so many people wanted to watch the area's top two independents play. The Irish's Austin Carr, who earlier had scored 44 points in a 135-88 victory over St. Peter's, dazzled the Warriors with 38 points, but Notre Dame's biggest hero in its 96-95 double-overtime win was Forward Tom Sinnott. Sinnott struck with two long jump shots during the overtimes and, with five seconds remaining in the first extra period and Marquette leading 81-79, he grabbed a deflected Warrior inbounds pass and tossed it to Carr. The Irish high scorer laid it in to throw the game into the decisive second overtime.
Kentucky barely maintained its hold on second place in the Southeastern Conference when Guard Terry Mills' 25-foot jumper, with 11 seconds to play, nipped Auburn 84-83. The Wildcats later defeated Mississippi 120-85 to regain a first-place tie with Georgia. The Bulldogs beat nonleague opponent Georgia Tech 74-69 and then clipped SEC rival Vanderbilt 94-90. LSU had its title hopes jolted by Alabama 106-104, despite Pete Maravich's league record of 69 points.
Western Kentucky maintained its two-game lead in the Ohio Valley Conference and improved its record to 15-2 with a 72-60 victory over Middle Tennessee.
1. KENTUCKY (17-1)
2. OHIO U. (15-3)
"We are the Mets of basketball," said Texas Christian Coach Johnny Swain. He might be understating his case. The Horned Frogs were picked to finish last in the Southwest Conference, and the prediction looked solid when they suffered a seven-game losing streak earlier this season. Since then TCU has won six in a row and, after Baylor lost 72-71 last week to Rice, has taken over the SWC lead. The Horned Frogs' high-geared fast break burned Texas 80-55 and Texas A&M 84-72 for the team's latest successes, leading Swain to give an uncoachly reason for TCU's surprising turnabout. "We stopped working out so hard," he explained. "I cut down the practice sessions and everybody's legs started coming back. Now we can run-run-run at every break."
Kansas State lost its first game in the Big Eight when it was trapped at Colorado 72-59. The Wildcats' game plan worked well in the first half when they held the Buffalos' Cliff Meely and Gordon Tope to a total of nine points. But superstitious K-State Coach Cotton Fitzsimmons, who has worn the same purple-and-white-checked trousers, purple blazer and purple-and-white tie to every game since league play began, ran out of luck in the second period. Meely scored 17 points in the final 20 minutes, and Freddie Shell, who came off the bench to replace Tope, added 12 more for Colorado.
Missouri Valley-leading Drake played outside its league, defeating Tulane 98-92, while second-place Louisville and No. 3 Cincinnati each won twice in the MVC to keep the race close. The Cardinals topped Memphis State 77-48 and North Texas State 71-60. Cincinnati's Bearcats tagged the same teams 77-63 and 84-69, with Jim Ard scoring 31 points against the Tigers and adding 21 more against the Eagles.