"We knew they would be great," The Citadel Coach George Hill said. "We told the team that on our way out to California. But after you meet them you have a different impression. They're awesome." "They," of course, were the Bruins of UCLA. Another basketball season, another UCLA team, another set of gasping superlatives. It's just too tiresome. The high point of The Citadel's 105-49 loss was managing to score—after four minutes and 22 seconds. Iowa put up more of a fight but lost 106-72. When center Bill Walton fouled out late in the second half, John Wooden was "forced" to play last year's redshirt Swen Nater. Swen scored 10 quick points, dominated the boards, directed the defense and displayed an effortlessly sure hook shot.
Southern Cal got Svengalied. When Arizona State played its freshmen in a pre-season tune-up, a Trojan assistant coach was spotted in the stands. Coach Ned Wulk told his Sun Devils to play like clodhoppers, and they did such a convincing job that USC was lulled. They were still lulled last week as the Devils unhorsed the Trojans 95-78. Guard Bill Kennedy scored 21 points and held Troy's Paul Westphal to 12. Southern Cal rebounded against San Francisco 102-82 with an effective 1-2-2 zone and a fast break.
When Houston stunned Stanford by 20 points, 87-67, Indian Coach Howie Dallmar gee-whizzed, "I would hate to run into a better team of one-on-one players." Basketball, however, is played five-on-five. When the Cougars crossed the Bay, California beat them in double overtime 82-81 without doing a lot of sagging and double-teaming on big Dwight Davis and Dwight Jones. A big man for Cal was hitherto hapless Harry Brown, who had been taunted last year by crowds shouting, "Kill, Harry, kill!" Harry, you see, weighed 268 pounds, and the floor shook when he ran. This year he is a svelte 225. Long Beach State began its less than frightening schedule by dismantling the University of Corpus Christi 91-51 but beat Nevada-Las Vegas only 83-72 in the State 2,300-capacity snake pit. "It was an unbelievable experience," shuddered Corpus Christi Coach Bill White. "I spent the entire evening yelling at my players and the refs, and no one ever heard me. I thought I'd lost my voice." All Las Vegas Coach John Bayer said about Long Beach was, "Either they aren't as good as everyone thinks or we're a lot better than everyone thinks."
"If your team's not playing very well, praise the opposing team," said philosophical New Mexico State Coach Lou Henson after a 77-71 opening loss. Good advice. But what if the team that beats you is that power of Southwestern basketball, Angelo State? Just cry. Henson's Aggies were so shaken that they lost their second game too, to New Mexico 78-76. The hungry Lobos got several baskets on fourth and fifth rebounds; Henson praised their rebounding.
"If you're ready, it doesn't matter how good your man is," Colorado State's Travis Lackey said after holding Stretch Bustion of Denver to four points, his lowest since junior high school. Denver lost 86-61. Where's that puck?
Milwaukee's infamous antijaywalking obsession gave Marquette more trouble than St. John's of Minnesota, its first opponent. Jim Chones, Bob Lackey, Marcus Washington and George Frazier were all pulled in when they crossed a street against a DON'T WALK light. After their release, Marquette walked all over St. John's, 89-50, as Chones scored 24 points. Bowling Green presented more trouble before yielding 84-64. Although he was still weakened by the puzzling fatigue that has bothered him all fall, Allie McGuire, the coach's son, played briefly.
"Season openers are supposed to be bad, but this was ridiculous," Ohio State's Fred Taylor said after the Buckeyes had beaten Georgia Tech 63-55. He felt exactly the same way about skinning past Oregon 68-57 in OSU's home opener. Tech stayed close despite a 6�-minute stretch without a field goal. State's Allan Hornyak was out with a heel injury and 7-foot Luke Witte fouled out. Witte scored 21 against Oregon (41 in the two games), but it remained for two Buckeye interceptions and a 14-point spurt by Bob Siekmann to put away the win.
Minnesota, sporting a Harlem Globetrotter warmup routine and three new regulars, pleased the crowd if not new Coach Bill Musselman. The Gophers coasted past a touring Australian Olympic team 76-46, and a North Dakota aggregation, which averaged six inches less per man, 68-49, but Musselman growled, "We didn't have the killer instinct." Imagine what he said when Iowa State led at the half before bowing 72-58.