"The greatest effort I've ever seen in 17 years of coaching," is what Dale Brown, coach of LSU, called the play of his five starters against Mississippi State. Unfortunately, those five starters were also Brown's only five players; he had suspended seven others for breaking curfew. It seems that in a motel in Starkville, Miss, they found each other's conversation so stimulating that their discussion continued 90 minutes after bedtime. Fouls eventually reduced the five mutes to four on the floor, and LSU, which had upset both Kentucky and Vanderbilt, fell before the Bulldogs 89-75, the team's second loss in Southeastern Conference play. Kentucky also lost for a second time, to two-time loser Tennessee 67-54, before handing Mississippi its second loss, 93-64. Ole Miss, which started the week undefeated in the conference, lost earlier to Alabama 88-71. The Tide then slipped by LSU and the reinstated Starkville Seven 80-79 in overtime, winning on a free throw after almost blowing the game in the final minute of regulation time on three missed one-and-one tries. That tied Alabama at 4-1 with Vanderbilt, which dispatched Georgia 91-71 and Auburn 96-51.
Furman held its Southern Conference lead, beating second-place Citadel 50-42. The score was 16-all at the half as Citadel stalled, but the Bulldogs' poor shooting finally did them in. Earlier in the week Furman downed Manhattan 94-76 as 6'9" junior Clyde Mayes scored 29 points and gathered in 21 rebounds. But the Paladins were no match for Jacksonville, which got 29 points from Leon Benbow, survived a second-half case of the blahs and won 77-68.
Maryland had the easiest week of the ACC's triumvirate, breezing past Fordham 112-73 and Navy 72-50. North Carolina State enjoyed leads of 11-0, 20-2 and 28-4 on its way to routing Virginia 90-70 and also polished off North Carolina-Charlotte 104-72 for the next easiest week. Only North Carolina had trouble. After downing Wake Forest 95-78, the Tar Heels barely survived Duke 73-71 when Bobby Jones stole an inbounds pass and scored on a layup in the final four seconds.
South Carolina lost at Davidson 70-59, but returned on Saturday to its sacred Carolina Coliseum and beat Pennsylvania 67-57 to extend its home winning streak to 31 games. Gamecock sophomore Center Bob Mathias described it this way: "I don't want anybody coming in and taking anything away from my home, and the rest of the players feel the same way."
Mercer had its win streak snapped at 11 when Tennessee- Chattanooga whipped the Macon team 111-88, but Centenary upped its record to 12-0 with wins over Northwestern Louisiana 90-77, Houston 91-83 and Lamar 83-65.
1. N.C. ST. (11-1)
2. MARYLAND (11-2)