It was a laugher in more ways than one. With five minutes left the Michigan players laughed right out there on the floor as they drubbed the Ohio State Buckeyes, 91-68, making up, in small effect, for the indignity the Wolverines felt after their football team came in tied but second best to OSU. The game also was some vindication for Coach John Orr, who had been subjected to a dump-Orr campaign by a candidate for the student government council last fall. Orr's men are deadlocked for the Big Ten lead with Purdue, a 64-45 winner over Minnesota. Haifa game back was Indiana, which breezed past Illinois 107-67.
A last-second basket by Billy Paterno gave Notre Dame a 91-89 win over Michigan State. John Shumate had 27 points for the Irish in that game, a figure matched by Adrian Dantley in an 87-68 thrashing of Duke.
Wisconsin led Marquette much of the way—only to have Maurice Lucas' 20-foot jumper save the game in the last second for the Warriors 59-58. Against Creighton, Marquette zipped to a 14-2 lead, but then the Bluejays thwarted their press with back-door layups that led to a 75-69 win. "A team that presses as far out as Marquette usually is vulnerable to back-door shots," said Creighton Coach Eddie Sutton after handing the Warriors only their second home loss in 101 games.
Colorado Coach Sox Walseth had a rotten time at Kansas, falling off his chair during an 81-66 loss, but the Jayhawks were stable—they later upped their Big Eight mark to 7-0 by beating Oklahoma State 80-71 behind Danny Knight's 34 points. Kansas State, halting Oklahoma State 65-48 and Iowa State 72-56, stayed half a game behind Kansas as its coach, Jack Hartman, was credited with putting a wildcat in the team's tank. Explained Guard Lon Kruger: "He said something like, 'If you're going to just watch the game, you oughta pay admission.' Except he didn't say this. He, well, shouted it."
SMU handed Texas Tech its first Southwest Conference loss 73-71 and Texas its second when Zack Thiel sank two free throws in the last seven seconds to break a 72-72 tie. Starring in. defeat, Larry Robinson of the Longhorns had 32 points and added 29 more in a 93-79 conquest of Baylor. Tech, too, trimmed the Bears, 85-69.
In the Missouri Valley Conference the spoiler was New Mexico State, which sent Louisville to its first league loss 76-73 and toppled second-place Bradley 85-76. Both front-runners, however, won their other league games, the Cardinals beating West Texas State 81-62 and the Braves stopping Tulsa 81-73.
1. NOTRE DAME (18-1)
2. MARQUETTE (18-3)
"He makes unusual shots that rip you up. Bizarre, unusual plays." So said La Salle Coach Paul West-head of Notre Dame's Gary Brokaw, whose 28 points led a 98-78 Irish romp. But the Explorers won their other two games, beating Temple 78-54 and then, with Billy Taylor pouring in 39 points, downing American University 95-83.