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What can a coach do after a 67-64 overtime loss to the league's cellar dwellers—his fourth defeat in five games—and after school officials order him to apologize for blasting the press? Well, following that setback by St. Louis, Wayne Yates of Memphis State issued an apology to the press. Then he prepared to face Metro Conference leader Louisville by resorting to prayer. Dr. Norman Vincent Peale's positive mental attitude and the wearing of his lucky suit for the first time this season. As for sophomore James Bradley, a long-distance bomber who was booed for missing 18 of 22 shots against the Billikens, he continued to fire away against Louisville. This time Bradley found the range, sinking 10 of 13 first-half shots. At the end, Bradley had 24 points and nine rebounds and held the Cardinals' Wesley Cox to 12 points as the Tigers sprang an 87-77 upset. Against outsiders, Louisville bumped off Tulsa 91-67 and Cincinnati beat crosstown rival Xavier 77-68.
Although he did not campaign for student body president at Kansas State, freshman Curtis Redding was endorsed by the campus newspaper, which said he combined the qualities of Joan of Arc. Moses and Martin Luther King. Write-in candidate Redding did not get enough votes to win, but on the court he picked up enough points to carry the Wildcats to the top of the Big Eight. In a 74-67 win over Oklahoma State, Redding had 14 points, and seldom-used 6'7" Steve Soldner latched on to nine rebounds in 17 minutes. That same night. Missouri blitzed Colorado 101-74 as Scott Sims netted 30 points and Kim Anderson 25. When Kansas State visited Missouri, the entire Tiger front line fouled out and the Wildcats came from nine points down to win 88-77. Joan-Moses-Martin Redding flipped in 20 points in that game and Larry Dassie led a second-half surge with five field goals in less than two minutes. That left the Wildcats a game in front of the Tigers and Oklahoma, which throttled Nebraska 72-62 and Iowa State 94-68.
Southern Illinois and West Texas State shared first place in the Missouri Valley Conference. The Salukis toppled New Mexico State 93-64 and Drake 66-57. The Buffaloes had two overtime victories. 76-73 over Tulsa and 76-70 over Bradley.
Oral Roberts became a 20-game winner for the eighth straight season, defeating St. Louis 71-65 and North Carolina A&T 110-64. Anthony Roberts of the Titans, who had just 14 points in the first game, raised his season scoring average to 32.7 by sinking 25 of 35 shots and 16 free throws for 66 points against A&T. Creighton (21-3) grounded Air Force 64-63, Rick Apke and Robert Scrutchens combining for 30 points in the second half.
I'm a BIRD WATCHER T shirts were the rage at Indiana State, where 6'9" sophomore Larry Bird sank 20 of 27 shots, scored 45 points and had 17 rebounds in an 83-72 win over Loyola of Chicago. Bird, who has had 399 points in his past 10 outings, added 40 in an 87-68 romp over Eastern Michigan.
"It doesn't bother me one bit to look a gift horse, or horses, in the mouth, especially in Provo, Utah against BYU," said Arizona Coach Fred Snowden after winning at the wire 64-62. BYU led 62-58 when the "gift horses" made their appearance. First came a lane violation, a Cougar stepping across the line before a teammate shot a free throw. Although the foul shot was good, it was nullified. Arizona's Bob Elliott was fouled and sank two free throws to make it 62-60 with 45 seconds to go. Seventeen seconds later. Herm Harris tied the score with a jumper after the Wildcats had forced a turnover. BYU had time to set up a last shot, but Verne Thompson slipped as he brought the ball downcourt, and Phil Taylor of the Wildcats put in the winning basket with eight seconds to go. Utah took over first place in the Western AC by knocking off Arizona State 77-72. Pacing the Utes were their Double J Boys, Jeff Judkins (27 points, 12 rebounds) and Jeff Jonas (14 points, 10 assists). They again excelled when the Wildcats came to town to settle the league leadership. With Judkins tossing in 20 points and pulling down 11 rebounds and with Jonas getting 24 points and nine assists, Utah breezed 76-61. A diamond-and-one defense was also invaluable for the Utes, limiting Harris. Elliott and Taylor to 13 field goals in 35 attempts.