Trailing heavily favored Maryland by 10 points with seven minutes to play, UNC-Charlotte decided it was time to abandon its let's-not-lose-by-too-much game plan. The 49ers attacked the Terps with gusto and began closing the gap. Then, in a move not likely to be celebrated at next summer's coaching clinics, UNCC retreated once more to its zone defense and patient offense—and to a 70-60 defeat. "We did that because we had two men in foul trouble," said 49er Coach Lee Rose in his own defense. "If we stay in a man-to-man, we're done."
Coming off a 104-67 whipping of East Tennessee State, North Carolina ran into a tough South Florida zone and managed to hit only 26 of 58 shots as it stumbled to a 70-64 victory. In the second half the Tar Heels let a 15-point lead dwindle to three before shifting into a four-corner delay offense, which helped hold South Florida to only one basket in the last 4:50. Guard Phil Ford sealed the win with two late free throws.
Indiana sank hapless Columbia 106-63 and wrecked Manhattan 97-61 in the Holiday Festival at Madison Square Garden. But Manhattan did not give up easily. At one point Indiana led only 6-4. At the next point, the Hoosiers led 24-4. Said St. John's Coach Lou Carnesecca, whose unbeaten team earned the spot opposite Indiana in this week's Holiday final by beating Temple 67-59 and South Carolina 71-59, "To tell you the truth, yesterday I could only bear to watch Indiana practice for two minutes. Then I ran out of the place."
In women's basketball, top-rated Delta State defeated two of the country's best teams, Southern Connecticut (91-55) and Federal City College (75-54), to win the Bicentennial Classic in Philadelphia.
1. MARYLAND (7-0)
2. NO. CAROLINA (6-0)
There are those who suspect that Detroit Coach Dick Vitale was looking ahead, not seeing red, when he took off after Referee Gary Muncy following the Titans' 85-82 defeat of Michigan State early last week. Vitale apparently was enraged at a call Muncy made with Detroit leading by four points with 17 seconds to play. Titan Terry Tyler had scored what appeared to be a clean layup, when Muncy whistled him for having a hand above the rim and disallowed the hoop. Ten seconds later, Detroit's lead shrank to two, but the Titans came back with a free throw to sew up the game. When time ran out Vitale charged the official and had to be restrained by his players.
Five nights later Detroit was hosting the Motor City Tournament, and one of the refs was Muncy, although it somehow happened that he didn't officiate either of the Titans' contests. In the first game Detroit beat Wyoming 74-66. In the final the Titans downed DePaul 74-67. "Muncy is a Big Ten official and he tried to take the game away from us," Vitale insisted after the win over Michigan State. "I'm bitter about it." Nice move, Coach.
Before the season Minnesota was figured to finish somewhere between Potsdam State and Case Western Reserve, but the Gophers are now up among the giants after defeating strong Creighton 80-74 to win the Pillsbury Classic and run their record to 8-0. An earlier 77-73 victory over Marquette was even more impressive. Said Warrior Coach Al McGuire, "They took it to us. They have some real thoroughbreds." Against Creighton, the big horses were Center Michael Thompson, who blocked four shots and scored 21 points, and Guards Osborne Lock-hart (22 points) and Flip Saunders (21). "It was a good time for us to have a pressure game," said Minnesota Coach Jim Dutcher. "We started the season wanting our kids to get confidence. Now we don't want them thinking they're too good."