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New Mexico edged closer to leader Brigham Young in the Western Athletic Conference with home-court victories over Arizona 93-73 and Arizona State 98-86, teams that had furnished two of New Mexico's three previous losses. " New Mexico is playing great," said Arizona State Coach Ned Wulk. "I think they're the best team in the league right now."
On its home court, San Francisco handled Santa Clara 78-69 with a nifty wrinkle. "We saved a new offense for them and it got us a lot of free shots," said the USF coach, Bob Gaillard. Then the two teams played at Santa Clara and the new offense looked like a secondhand rose. The Broncos won 83-72, and the teams remained tied for the West Coast Athletic Conference lead.
Pepperdine's William (Bird) Averitt, newly become the nation's leading scorer, pumped in 41 points against Loyola. But his team lost 103-91. Later in the week Bird pecked out just 19 points—birdseed for him—but added 13 assists and Pepperdine beat Loyola 85-80.
The UCLA of the West won its 63rd straight game and its 35th in a row in the Pacific Eight Conference, tromping Washington State 88-50. The Bruins allowed only 18 points in the first half. Long Beach State's two victories over San Diego State in the Pacific Coast Athletic Association (97-76 and 84-66) were geared to Ed Ratleff's 51 points, 21 rebounds and seven assists.
Cincinnati has been about as consistent this year as a cheating weight watcher's diet. After nibbling on Louisville 81-79 the Bearcats were starving against Florida State. At halftime, Coach Gale Catlett heard Guard Dan Murphy question his game strategy. "Put on your street clothes," said the coach, "and get out of here." Murphy watched from the stands as the Bearcats went on to an 89-62 victory and later commented: "I really motivated them, didn't I?"
No one needed motivation for "The Rematch" between Ohio State and Minnesota, both of whom suffered painful and enduring bruises from their lurid brawl at Minneapolis last season. At Columbus this time, everyone was on his best behavior, especially Minnesota's Ron Behagen, one of the villains of the previous drama. He scored 33 points as the Gophers won 80-78. The game attracted the attention of a national TV audience and a capacity crowd that included Ohio Governor John Gilligan and Minnesota Governor Wendell Anderson. "I'm glad it's over," said Ohio State Coach Fred Taylor, whose team now has lost 15 of 27 games since that fateful day in Minnesota.
It was a rough week on the road for Indiana. First the Hoosiers lost 70-69 to Ohio State and the Buckeyes' rejuvenated Luke Witte. Then they were upended by Purdue 72-69, the eighth straight time Indiana has lost in West Lafayette, Ind. Indiana had 51 turnovers in the two turnaround games and the Big Ten Conference race tightened with four teams still in contention.
Xavier strolled into the visiting team locker room at DePaul and found a complete and meticulous scouting report on themselves lying on a chair. Was it a plot? If so, whose? Xavier Coach Dick Campbell was not sure but he threw out his game plan and installed a new one to beat the scouting report. The report won. DePaul mauled Xavier, 89-67.