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Tennessee Players were so confident before facing Vanderbilt that they bought necklaces with No. 1 pendants. Ernie Grunfeld, who had 24 points in the Vols' 73-59 win, said, "That just means we're No. 1 in Tennessee. When we win the Southeastern Conference championship we'll get bigger ones." But Florida put a crimp in Grunfeld's shopping plans, waylaying the Vols 72-69 as Gene Shy scored 22 points. Alabama, which had beaten Florida 79-73, was down 42-33 to LSU when it learned of Tennessee's loss. "It jumped everybody off," said Reginald (Mule) King of the Tide, which rallied for a 78-74 win that tied Alabama with the Vols for first place. Moving to the top of the Nice to Know It Can Happen category was a gesture by Alabama Coach C. M. Newton in the LSU game. Newton must have astounded a referee and the fans at Baton Rouge when he notified the official that a foul just called on ' Bama was its seventh and that, instead of the Tigers getting the ball out of bounds, they were entitled to a one-and-one.
The list of major-college unbeatens shrank to two when Western Michigan (19-1) fell 88-80 to Toledo, which shot .650. Western Michigan and Miami of Ohio are now tied for the Mid-American lead with a 10-1 mark.
With Kent Benson coming through with 38 points, Indiana sacked Michigan State 85-70. And when Illinois limited Scott May to six points, Benson carried the Hoosiers to a 58-48 triumph with 17 points. Terry Fur-low had 38 points for Michigan State, which also lost to Michigan 81-64.
"Hank Raymonds has made my job easy," said Marquette Coach Al McGuire. Raymonds is an assistant coach and the tactician for the Warriors, who held off Virginia Tech 68-61, thanks to his delay game "with five guys moving in a horizontal back-and-forth pattern." Tech's Duke Thorpe, who has a .668 shooting percentage, sank nine of 12 shots and had 30 points.
There were no ifs or ands when North Carolina hung an 81-69 convincer on Maryland. There were, though, a number of butts. Terp Coach Lefty Driesell admitted that the Tar Heels wore out his team's butts. And a resounding butt-first landing on the floor was a panacea to Carolina's Mitch Kupchak, who had been hampered by an eye injury. "The lights were putting a glaze on my eyes and the rim looked double," he said, but maintained that after hitting the deck, "everything came into focus." It must have. He scored 21 points and had 12 rebounds and six blocked shots. That win solidified the Tar Heels' hold on first place in the ACC. Against Tulane in the Superdome, Carolina won 113-106 in quadruple overtime as Kupchak scored 35 points and pulled down 21 rebounds. Walter Davis added 26 points and Phil Ford, whose basket with three seconds to go sent the game into overtime, had 22. The Greenies' Phil Hicks was high man with 36.
Rutgers remained unbeaten—barely. With Phil Sellers and Mike Dabney combining for 10 points in overtime, the Scarlet Knights held off Manhattan 92-81. Also gunning for Rutgers was Delaware, whose Steve Fischer said, "We win, and we're famous. We lose, and we get one line." You're right, Steve: Rutgers 110, Delaware 87.