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COLLEGE BASKETBALL—MORGAN STATE topped Southwest Missouri 67-52 to become the first team in 17 years to win a championship in its first trip to the NCAA College Division finals.
Weyland Baptist College grabbed its sixth straight title in the National Women's Invitational at Amarillo, Texas, downing John F. Kennedy College 59-52. JFK, defending AAU champion, has lost the last three Amarillo tournaments to the Flying Queens.
Eight teams survived opening-round competition at the 37th annual National Invitational Tournament at Madison Square Garden: MARYLAND-EASTERN SHORE, PURDUE, JACKSONVILLE. HAWAII, UTAH, CONNECTICUT, BOSTON COLLEGE and MEMPHIS STATE.
PRO BASKETBALL—NBA: There is not much room at the top. In the West, Milwaukee, Chicago and Detroit have locked up playoff spots, and now only the Pacific champion will make it. The Golden State Warriors, despite losses to Detroit and New York, moved a bit closer by sweeping a weekend series with the Lakers 112-107 and 135-105. Cazzie Russell led the scorers with 35 and 34. and George Johnson ably filled in for injured Nate Thurmond. The Eastern Conference also will open the "second season" with three teams from one division: Boston. New York and Buffalo. The Braves clinched their first playoff berth with a 122-112 win over Portland. Boston improved its record with a 4-1 week, and the Knicks' only concern is keeping their home-court edge over Capital, the fourth team. In non-playoff business, Atlanta's Walt Bellamy scored 30 points in a 126-107 victory over Seattle to become the league's sixth leading alltime scorer. And Portland, by winning two while Phoenix lost four, inched closer to losing the draft rights to Bill Walton.
ABA: With playoff time looming ever closer, races remained tight for top spots in the East—and the bottom one in the West. A five-win week for the Nets lifted them above Kentucky. Three were routs: Virginia fell 114-76, Utah 97-76 and Denver 112—93. Two were squeakers: a 124-117 double-overtime victory over Indiana and a 114-112 single-overtime contest with the Colonels. Against Indiana, Dr. J led all scorers with 39, and against Kentucky his basket at the buzzer won it, keeping the Nets on top despite the two-game absence of injured Billy Paultz. In the West, playoff-bound Utah was soundly beaten by Indiana, New York and Carolina. The drubbing by the Nets at least added asterisks to the Stars' record book: lowest point total and first losing series in the club's history. The rest of the West jockeyed for position: San Antonio climbing over idle Indiana into second, and San Diego topping Carolina 101-90 to move into fourth as Denver lost to the Squires.
BOWLING—JOHNNY GUENTHER, of Seattle, rose from 11th place to defeat Tacoma southpaw Earl Anthony 225-205 and win the $85,000 Lincoln-Mercury Open at Denver, earning $10,000 for his eighth PBA triumph.
BOXING—ROBERTO DURAN knocked out Esteban De Jesus in the 11th of a scheduled 15-round bout at Panama City to retain his world lightweight title and avenge his only loss in 42 fights.
HOCKEY—WHA: Keeping up with the times, Toronto Goalie Gilles Gratton became the first WHA streaker, sailing around his home rink in mask and skates only, at a team practice. But fully dressed, there were fewer laughs. The Toros lost to Quebec 3-2 and finished the week nine points behind East leader New England. The only Whalers loss came from Chicago, 5-3. as the Cougars moved to within three points of a playoff berth with plenty of help from Ralph Backstrom as the veteran center contributed six goals in three games. Minnesota, second in the West, stretched its losing siring to five straight, at New Jersey, 5-3. The high-scoring Saint, Mike Walton, was held to one goal in four games. Cleveland trailed Quebec by a point in the East while Edmonton and Winnipeg remained tied in the third Western spot.
NHL: It was somehow fitting that the more staid, older league had its first streaker two days after the WHA's Gratton broke the ice (as it were). The NHL's nudist, a Los Angeles Kings' fan named Cindy, wore only a Kings' cap and waved the team banner as she skittered the length of the rink, a security guard in hot pursuit. The Kings, who had been in the dressing room, topped that act by defeating Pittsburgh 5-1 to remain unbeaten in eight of their last nine games. Los Angeles also whipped Detroit on Goalie Rogie Vachon's fifth shutout of the season and moved two points ahead of Atlanta for third place in the West. Atop the West, Philadelphia and Coach of the Year Fred Shero flew to four straight wins and an eight-point lead on Chicago. The Black Hawks grounded New York 5-2, ending the Rangers' 11-game home unbeaten skein, tied Montreal 3-3, then froze the Canadiens in Montreal 3-1. St. Louis found little solace in a 2-1 win over Toronto, only the Blues' second victory in their last 20 games, as they fell to Philadelphia 4-2 and tied Buffalo 2-2. But they were still only four points away from Atlanta and the last playoff berth. In the East, Boston won three of four as Player of the Year Phil Esposito upped his season's total to 63 with five goals. The Bruins led Montreal by 14 points and New York by 15. In the race for the East's last playoff spot, fourth-place Toronto lost two of three, but Buffalo went winless in four games to drop nine points behind the Maple Leafs.
HORSE RACING—HUDSON COUNTY ($11.60) won the $57,800 seven-furlong Bay Shore Handicap at Aqueduct. Ridden by Mike Miceli, the Derby eligible led all the way, finishing 1� lengths ahead of Frankie Adams. Protagonist, in his first start of 1974, finished a distant fourth on a sloppy track.