Riding high after conquering Memphis State, Western Kentucky and Wake Forest in a pre-Christmas week, Coach Hugh Durham of Florida State said his team had enjoyed "the best regular-season week in school history." It immediately followed with one of its poorer weeks. The Seminoles lost to 1-5 Indiana State 93-92 in the first game of the Bear Classic at Mercer, then barely survived Wisconsin- Milwaukee 84-82 in the consolation. "We are tired," said Durham after the Seminoles' sixth game in 14 days. Mercer was wide awake, winning the final over Indiana State 75-68. Austin Peay said, "Bah, humbug." And didn't play at all.
1. N.C. (7-0)
2. MARYLAND (6-1)
With the century mark still 17 victories away, it was tough for UCLA students to get up for the biennial Bruin Classic; after all, UCLA only wins it every other year. Fortunately, beneath the golden neon of McDonald's on Westwood Boulevard near the campus, an ever-enterprising owner came up with an idea to spur excitement—and incidentally to sell a billion or two more burgers. When UCLA scores between 90 and 99 points, the gentleman decreed, every student with a valid I.D. and a ticket stub from that game gets a free hamburger. The higher the score, the more food, including French fries. Thus the disappointment was wholly understandable when the Bruins trounced Wyoming by only 86-58. Student appetites were sated a bit the next night, though, when Gavin Smith made an otherwise unnecessary free throw as UCLA yawned past Michigan 90-70.
There was no such gimmick at the Far West Classic, nor was any needed. Seventh-ranked Indiana managed only 18 points in the first half, then lost to Oregon State 61-48 in one of the young season's big upsets. "I'm not at all certain that they aren't just a flat better team than we are," said Hoosier Coach Bobby Knight. If State is, then Washington is better still. The Huskies took Oregon State 65-56 while Indiana came back to smother Oregon 58-47.
In a farther west classic, Honolulu's Rainbow, Hawaii skipped past Purdue 76-67 after the well-coached Boilermakers had disposed of Providence 93-65. The Friars won fifth place when Kevin Stacom hit for 28 points in a runaway against Washington State.
Southern Cal, now 9-1, slammed the door on Oral Roberts' scoring express to take a 96-75 victory and the championship of the All College Tournament in Oklahoma City. Houston, off to its worst start in years (5-5), gained third place from Rutgers, whose tournament MVP Phil Sellers scored 101 points in three games.
Nevada-Las Vegas won five home games within two weeks, blasting Northern Illinois 114-92 and overcoming Virginia 77-72 to cash in on its own holiday classic. Trailing by eight points, the Rebels held Virginia to just one basket in the last 7:22 of play and freshman Eddie Owens sank five free throws in the last minute.
Unbeaten New Mexico jumped out to an 18-3 lead over Minnesota in the Lobo Invitational when Gopher Coach Bill Musselman was thrown out of the game with his third technical, the last two flagrant, meaning New Mexico was awarded two free throws for each. Norm Ellenberger's Lobos made all four and then rolled up a 102-68 score.
Utah, which begins its conference schedule this week at New Mexico, bombed Montana State 110-86 as Luther (Ticky) Burden got 32 points in 32 minutes. The Utes then smothered Idaho. Ahead 68-35 by halftime, they let the reserves take over for most of the second half. Final score: 116-79.