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Bill Schaeffer was the one player to have when your team was having more than one game. St. John's, in fact, played four games in five days, sweeping to the ECAC Holiday Festival title in Madison Square Garden with Schaeffer scoring 112 points. He started with 40 in a 112-86 rout of Grambling, added 19 more as the Redmen held off Tennessee 56-55 with the help of three foul shots in the last 28 seconds by Larry Jenkins, and had 22 more in an 85-83 upset of Michigan. He finished with 31 points as St. John's whipped South Carolina 86-79 in the championship game. The winning basket against Michigan came on a play that worked out perfectly or imperfectly, depending on the teller. According to Coach Frank Mulzoff, "The last play was set up for Schaeffer." According to Schaeffer he "wasn't supposed to take it." With 11 seconds to go the St. John's reserves arose in a prearranged signal to set the winning play in motion. "I didn't see the subs stand," said Schaeffer who did, however, see the clock and dropped in the winner with one second left.
Two Philadelphia squads—St. Joseph's and La Salle—made it to the championship round of the Quaker City Tournament. To get there the Hawks drubbed Rhode Island 89-64 and outlasted Duquesne 76-71. For the Explorers the path was bumpier as they held off USC 77-72 and New Mexico State 76-70. They were outshot from the field by the Trojans 32-25, but were bailed out by Jimmy (Skyman) Crawford, who had 20 points, and by freshman Charlie Wise. Four times in the last 57 seconds of the first half the Trojans got the ball with the clock stopped, and each time Wise was sent in from the bench. Twice he stole the ball as La Salle cut a 37-31 deficit to one point at halftime. Against New Mexico State, Crawford sank 11 straight shots and had 30 points. But neither Crawford nor Wise nor hurry-up tactics helped against the Hawks in the title game. St. Joseph's held Skyman to 12 points, refused to be rushed into errors and came away a 77-52 winner.
1. PROVIDENCE (5-1)
Illinois downed Temple 82-77 on the first day of the Sugar Bowl Tournament, then took on the world, otherwise known as UCLA, an 85-72 winner over Drake. What lent drama to the title matchup went back 16 years to another Fighting Illini team that ended the longest college winning streak of all time—San Francisco's—at 60 games. This time Illinois was no stopper, although it came closer to the Bruins than anybody else has this year, losing by only 71-64. It was UCLA's 53rd straight.
For the seventh time in 10 years host Davidson won the Charlotte Invitational, taking the title game 66-63 from Cincinnati, a team it had lost to by 11 points earlier on the road. T. Jay Pecorak led the Wildcats with 35 points in two games and a lot of defense, throwing all of his 210 pounds into his work. Admitted Pecorak, "I'm surprised with what I'm able to get away with because it's so obvious what I'm doing."
Craig Lieder of Virginia Tech made himself equally at home in the Old Dominion Classic at Norfolk, his hometown. Lieder, who had been averaging 6.3 points a game, scored 51 as the Gobblers nipped Old Dominion 81-80 and defeated Stanford 77-71. Said MVP Lieder: "I wanted to play well at home, but this was ridiculous."
Before the Gator Bowl Tournament Jacksonville Coach Tom Wasdin told his players that if they took first place they could have three days off to go home. Whereupon sophomore Henry Williams made a fast break for a travel agency where he bought a ticket to Pittsburgh, his hometown. Then the Dolphins beat Miami of Ohio 66-59 and, with 21 points from homeward-bound Williams, put down Rutgers 84-71.