Maryland, ranked 18th, invaded fifth-ranked North Carolina. It was the first time heralded sophomore Tom McMillen had been in Chapel Hill since he decided not to go there for his freshman year. Preparing himself for the expected raucous nonwelcome in N.C.'s Carmichael Auditorium, McMillen said: "You've got to be oblivious of the crowd, even if there's an atomic holocaust." Teammate Len Elmore told him, "We're going to let you walk out there by yourself. Ain't nobody wants to stand next to you." All wasted. Chapel Hill down-psyched Maryland. When McMillen was introduced, he got a standing ovation. Then Bill Chamberlain took over. Giving away five inches, he fronted McMillen, batting away passes and blocking two shots. At halftime McMillen was one for four and Maryland was down 15. At the end, the best percentage-shooting team in the country was ahead of the second best 92-72.
Ernie (The Garbageman) Fleming muttered, "How can you get fired up for a game like this?" as Jacksonville toyed with little Stetson 107-82. Then he thrashed high-ranked Florida State as Jacksonville won again, 84-82. But he did his real damage against St. Peter's: 59 points as the Dolphins won 132-100.
Virginia had the week off. It played Johns Hopkins and won 112-70. Southwestern Louisiana beat Trinity 90-67, but Los Angeles State upset the Ragin' Cajuns 99-88.
Against LSU, the shortest man ever to play for Adolph Rupp—5'10" sophomore Ronnie Lyons—had another tall night. His ball thefts, dribbling and needlework passing set up an 89-71 win to keep Kentucky's SEC title hopes alive. Jim Andrews led UK with 27 points and Guard Stan Key had 22. Kentucky also garroted Vanderbilt 106-80 as Andrews scored 34 points, hitting 14 of 17 shots. "We fronted him, we played behind him, we doubled up on him," said Vandy's Roy Skinner. "No use." Rupp gave the crowd a thrill by putting in Safetyman Darryl Bishop, who had returned an intercepted pass for a touchdown on the last play of the game to beat Vanderbilt 14-7 in November. Bishop scored another six points.
"There just isn't such a thing as an easy game in the Southeastern Conference anymore," Ray Mears said after Tennessee eked out a 79-77 nail-biter over Alabama. The Volunteers were behind by nine points until 7-foot sophomore Len Kosmalski hit nine baskets in the second half.
1. N. CAROLINA (13-2)
2. S. CAROLINA (12-3)
Penn's victories and Princeton's two losses captured most attention in the East, but South Carolina, still predominantly a New York team, impressed its subway alumni with a thoroughgoing rout of Fordham in Madison Square Garden, 100-77. "I'd rather win here than any other place," Gamecock Coach Frank McGuire said. "This is where you make the news." Tom Riker, South Carolina's 6'10" forward, still mending a broken bone in his shooting hand, scored a career high of 42 points. He missed only two of 11 shots in the first half and scored on all 10 in the second half. Fordham had previously beaten Army 81-71.
St. John's, reviving after days of travail, blitzed Dartmouth with its fast break, then added backboard control and a shot percentage of 59, a combination more than enough to guarantee the demise of the Indians, 100-66. The urban Redmen also barbered Hofstra 72-64. Duquesne, winning again, jammed Xavier 65-57 with a neatly balanced attack and, led by Ruben Montanez' 20 points, beat Army 69-62.