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Lacking such a dominant player, North Carolina relied on Phil Ford and Mitch Kupchak. Ford canned two free throws in the last seven seconds as Carolina won 77-75 at Miami of Ohio. Kupchak rebounded a missed shot and scored at the final buzzer as the Tar Heels beat Virginia 73-71. That gave Carolina a two-game bulge in the Atlantic Coast Conference over North Carolina State, which edged Duke 96-95 in overtime and then lost 103-90 to Clemson. Maryland held off Georgetown 72-63, but then was upended by ACC foe Duke 69-67 when Terry Chili sank two foul shots in the closing seconds.
Rutgers Coach Tom Young wanted his team to slow down. Instead, his Scarlet Knights erred, sputtered and stumbled. They did win, though, beating Syracuse 93-80 and American U. 94-79. But the Knights showed Young more slowdown than he wanted before rallying from a 49-48 deficit against Syracuse and before finally increasing their meager two-point lead over American by scoring 17 of 18 times they had the ball during a second-half spurt.
Touring Notre Dame got 77 points from Adrian Dantley as it trimmed Butler 92-79, Fordham 91-78 and South Carolina 90-83. Disgruntled by its team's losing ways, Ford-ham fired its coach, Hal Wissel. But there was joy in Massachusetts as the Minutemen took charge of the Yankee Conference by throttling Vermont 91-82 and bumping off Rhode Island 84-76.
1. RUTGERS (23-0)
"There are days when the rim becomes a teacup and days when it's a rain barrel. Today it was a rain barrel." So said Marquette Coach Al McGuire after a 72-62 win at Louisville in which Earl Tatum rained in 23 points. When Tulsa played at Louisville, nothing would rain in for the home team. An apparent last-second, game-winning tip-in by Tulsa was nullified by the referees. Given a reprieve, the highly favored Cardinals pulled out a 98-90 overtime verdict.
Three-time winner Texas A&M clinched at least a tie for first in the Southwest Conference. The Aggies won 94-80 at Houston as Wally Swanson and Steve Jones connected for 39 points. A&M (13-2) then blitzed TCU 111-70 and, with Sonny Parker tossing in 26 points, nipped Arkansas 70-69. Mike Russell and Rick Bullock combined for 45 points and 33 rebounds as Texas Tech (12-3) drubbed Baylor 87-76. Tech also outlasted SMU 107-101, Bullock getting 27 points to become the SWC's alltime top scorer with 1,935.