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PRO FOOTBALL—Trailing the New York Jets 20-7 at halftime, the DALLAS Cowboys looked like probable losers for the first time in 15 games. Then Running Back Mike Montgomery, acquired in the Duane Thomas trade, scored three touchdowns in the fourth quarter to make possible the Cowboys' fifth preseason victory by a 34-27 score. OAKLAND, the league's only other unbeaten team, ripped Buffalo 31-13 as rookie Mike Siani caught two touchdown passes. BALTIMORE, which had scored only three points in its first two games, knocked off previously undefeated Kansas City and Pittsburgh, 23-17 and 16-13, to even its preseason record. Washington also dropped its first game, to DETROIT 23-10, surrendering 20 points in the second period. MIAMI'S Charley Leigh had a 52-yard punt return and a 99-yard kickoff return called back, but Jim Kiick ran for two scores that counted as the Dolphins trounced Atlanta 24-10. HOUSTON scored twice within 35 seconds and Dan Pastorini threw three touchdown passes to hold off St. Louis 33-24. Cleveland lost its fourth straight, to MINNESOTA 20-17, but was heartened by the performance of second-year Quarterback Mike Phipps, who took the Browns on two long scoring drives in the fourth quarter. SAN DIEGO overcame New Orleans 16-14 on rookie Bill McClard's nine-yard field goal. The NEW YORK GIANTS stunned New England 31-10, DENVER topped San Francisco 27-24, GREEN BAY defeated Chicago 10-7 and KANSAS CITY won over Los Angeles 19-13.
SAILING—MERLE HALLETT of Casco Bay, Maine, skippering his 22�-foot sloop Little Scaramouche, won the National Ensign Class sailing championships off Greenwich, Conn. Hallett scored 20� points as defending titlist C. Raymond Westcott of Greenwich finished second with 27�.
TENNIS—MARGARET COURT roared through the $18,000 Virginia Slims Classic in Newport, R.I., beating Chris Evert 6-3, 6-0 in the semifinals and Billie Jean King 6-4, 6-1 in the finals for her first major victory since returning to the tour.
HIRED: As manager of the Houston Astros, LEO DUROCHER, 66, five weeks after he was fired as manager of the Chicago Cubs. Durocher replaced Harry Walker, 53, whose five-year record with the Astros was 355-353. Walker had guided the club to a 68-54 record this year, its best ever at that point in the season.
NAMED: BRYAN A. (Bitsy) GRANT JR., GARDNAR MULLOY and ELIZABETH RYAN, to the National Lawn Tennis Hall of Fame. Grant was national clay-court champion in 1930, 1934 and 1935 and Mulloy won the national doubles titles four times (1942, 1945, 1946 and 1948) playing with Billy Talbert. Miss Ryan won the Wimbledon doubles title 12 times, six while paired with Suzanne Lenglen of France.
NAMED: MICHAEL JOHN KILLANIN, 58, as president of the International Olympic Committee for an eight-year term to succeed 84-year-old Avery Brundage, who will retire at the conclusion of the current Olympic Games. A wealthy Irish lord who has been a journalist, author and movie producer, Killanin is considered less unyielding over issues such as the amateur code, the Winter Olympics and the enormous expenditures for the Olympic Games than the iron-willed, controversial Brundage.
OUSTED: The white-dominated RHODESIAN team, from the Olympic Games, by a 36-31 vote of the International Olympic Committee. The ejection came in reaction to threats by numerous countries and individual athletes to boycott the Games if Rhodesia was permitted to compete (page 18).
SOLD: Guard DON FREEMAN, 28, by the ABA's Dallas Chaparrals to the Indiana Pacers for the $250,000 they reportedly received from the sale of Bob Netolicky to Dallas last week. Freeman, who had been having contractual difficulties with Dallas, is the league's fourth leading career scorer (8,303 points).