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While UCLA's Wooden soldiers narrowly averted disaster (page 22), crosstown USC was scoring a 100-76 victory over Arizona, a 101-80 victor over Illinois earlier in the week. Not long ago Trojan Coach Bob Boyd was so pleased with Guard Gus Williams that he said, "I wish I could freeze him until the season begins." Well thawed, Williams led USC past the Wildcats by sinking 14 of 26 shots for 29 points.
Three highly regarded teams were jolted at home—Stanford, Oregon and Nevada-Las Vegas. Pete Padgett, son of the coach at the other Nevada ( Reno) dropped in 17 of his 20 points in the second half of a 76-69 shocker at Palo Alto. Montana State picked up the game's final eight points and sank the Ducks 75-72. And William Johnson (25 points) and Rick Bullock (23) rallied Texas Tech from a 13-point deficit in the closing 15 minutes to blackjack Las Vegas 82-76. Earlier, Tech lost to Fresno State 76-51.
With six seconds to go Doug Richards of Brigham Young heaved the ball 30 feet. Into the basket it went and the Cougars nipped Weber State 77-76. Next night, with a full 18 seconds left, Richards tossed up a jumper from 20 feet. This one went in, too, and BYU won again by a point, 83-82, over Idaho State. One of only two regulars back from last season, Richards had 56 points in the two games. Len Orr flipped in 50 points as Denver won twice, 71-64 over Colorado State and 83-73 over Idaho State. Utah State also won twice, over Trinity 76-67 and Doane 93-69—and Jim Boatwright netted 48 points while Jimmy Moore got 35 rebounds.
With Wendell Taylor stealing and feeding and its full-court press working, New Mexico stymied New Mexico State 75-66. Hawaii's new coach, Bruce O'Neil, came up with an 82-69 victory over South Alabama in his first outing. Kevin Restani, down 15 pounds to 224, slinked in for 22 rebounds and 20 points as San Francisco finished off San Diego 76-60.
Clemson Coach Tates Locke was all smiles over his new freelance offense and a tree. Locke, who abandoned his deliberate style of play, watched his Tigers take the IPTAY Invitational at home by beating Auburn 87-72 and then, in the finale, stopping St. John's 68-58. MVP of the tournament was Wayne (Tree) Rollins, a 7'1" Tiger freshman who scored just six points in the opener but was devastating against the Redmen, putting in 22 points, grabbing 20 rebounds and blocking nine shots. Favored Jacksonville, loser to St. John's in the first round 69-64, salvaged third place by polishing off Auburn 90-78.
Despite having Louis Dunbar and Maurice Presley in early foul trouble, Houston trailed North Carolina by only 46-44 at half-time. But then the two Cougars fouled out and the Tarheels, with Bobby Jones hauling in 14 rebounds and getting 21 points, pulled away for a 97-74 win. Kentucky, too, surged at the end. Leading Miami of Ohio by one point with 14 minutes to go, the Wildcats went into a 1-3-1 zone and came away with an 81-68 victory. Kevin Grevey topped the Wildcat scorers with 29 points.