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At the beginning of the week two Kansas students slipped over to Manhattan with the idea of kidnapping Touchdown VII, Kansas State's $50 wildcat mascot. By mistake they made off with Kansas, a $2,000 specimen belonging to the zoo. The Jayhawk basketball team didn't do very well, either. Twice it dissipated 11-point leads and K-State finally won 77-68 behind the hot second-half scoring of Steve Mitchell and Ernie Kusnyer. Then Kansas State downed Oklahoma State 74-64 and that, coupled with Kansas' 90-78 upset of Iowa State, put the Wildcats atop the Big Eight in a tic with surprising Colorado, a 90-69 winner over Oklahoma.
By tradition, Nebraska fans must stand up until their team scores. Against Missouri they were on their feet for very nearly seven minutes and by the time they sat down the Cornhuskers were behind 17-0 and on their way to a 78-65 loss. For TV purposes the game had been moved up to a noon starting time, which led Nebraska Coach Joe Cipriano to remark: "We just finished breakfast and our conference commissioner isn't even up yet. We should be giving away Grape Nuts as door prizes."
Indiana, unbeaten in the Big Ten, began its week by beating Michigan State 97-89 but found itself in serious trouble against Michigan. High-scoring Forward John Ritter fell heavily, complained of blurred vision and left after only eight minutes. Steve Green, the other forward, fouled out with 18 minutes to play. That left it up to Tom Abernethy, a 6'5" freshman with just 38 seconds of varsity playing experience. Naturally Abernethy came through, scoring 12 points on six field goals, and playing solid defense as Indiana won 79-73. Minnesota's title hopes then rose another notch when the Gophers beat up-and-down Michigan State 93-77. And Northwestern finally made it in the Big Ten, beating Wisconsin 74-73. Northwestern is now a lofty eighth (1-3) while Wisconsin is 10th (1-5).
"We are making a lot of errors and I need stabilization out back," said Butler Coach George Theofanis as he benched 6'6" junior Marty Monserez. "It hurt my pride," said Monserez. Aroused and eventually unleashed, Monserez scored 18 against Wabash, seven against the Air Force and 21 in last week's 87-58 victory over DePauw. "I stand there and hear the starters introduced and I am insulted," Monserez said. "The more I sit, the madder I get. When I go in I'm ready to explode."
Arizona's Kiddy Korps—four starting freshmen and a junior—found a way to grow old against Brigham Young's Yugoslavian Yo-Yo, 6'11" Kresimir Cosic. Almost with a yawn Cosic spent the night putting on tiny fakes and putting in 18-foot bank shots (13 of 25); when he wasn't, he could be found at the foul line (10-11). BYU won easily 93-79. Arizona State set up a man-to-man defense against Cosic two nights later. But BYU came back with a 2-3 zone, discovered that the Sun Devils couldn't shoot over it and ran away with an 81-67 victory. As for the Kiddy Korps, well, youth is resilient. They regrouped in time to outrun Utah's running Utes 89-86 after Utah had upset Arizona State 87-77.
The game should have been played at the OK Corral: Pepperdine's William (Bird) Averitt against Cal State's Raymond Lewis, both ranking just behind Fly Williams among the top major college scoring leaders. In the final of the Cal State Invitational they both came out firing blanks. Averitt, No. 2 with a 32.7 average, managed but seven points in the first half. Sophomore Lewis had just eight—hardly right-on for a guy with a 31.2 average. Finding the range in the second half, Lewis pumped in 26 points, finished the night with 34 and Cal State won 87-80. That moved him past Averitt (32.5 to 31.7), who scored 26.
New Mexico overcame first-half jitters to defeat Wyoming 70-56, and Colorado State threw away the ball 25 times as it lost to Texas at El Paso 57-49. Oral Roberts" Al Boswell scored 17 points to lead the Titans past Pan American 87-68.