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Louisville's Doctors of Dunk began the season by performing like so many quacks. After failing to get a slam while losing their opener at Providence, they went another 24:45 without a dunk against Vanderbilt. Then the Doctors took off. After receiving a long feed from Ricky Gallon, Rick Wilson came through with the Cardinals' first slam of the season, a rather standard two-hand affair. Darrell Griffith then added a behind-the-head smash that delighted the sellout crowd of 16,433 attending Louisville's first home game. Wilson finished with 26 points, Griffith with 24 and Gallon with 11 as the Cardinals won 96-66.
Also having difficulty getting going was Cincinnati. After the Bearcats zipped to a 26-10 lead over North Carolina A & T, Coach Gale Catlett began substituting freely, and soon the Bearcats were scrambling to preserve their 62nd straight home-court victory. It took a pair of one-and-one foul shots by Eddie Lee with six seconds remaining to pull out a 58-57 victory. Pat Cummings, who had 16 points in that game, had 20 more as Cincinnati made it 63 in a row with a 77-62 pounding of Biscayne. Center Bob Miller, who had scored just 19 points in the Bearcats' first two games, matched that total against the Bobcats.
Mississippi State gambled by using a zone defense against Arkansas and came up a loser. In the opening five minutes, the Razor-backs raced to a 16-6 lead, so the Bulldogs switched to a man-to-man. That did not work either, as Arkansas, which shot .646, won 94-61 with Ron Brewer sinking 12 of 15 shots and scoring 24 points.
"I guess that's why you play two halves," said South Dakota Coach Jack Doyle after losing 69-52 at Kansas State. The Coyotes, who had scored 128 points while winning their opener against Westmar, got only 34 in the first half against the Wildcats, but their .607 shooting was good enough to give them a four-point halftime lead. Then came the second half, during which the Coyotes shot only .290 against State's zone. Curtis Redding pumped in 19 points for the Wildcats, and freshman Rolando Blackman came off the bench to sink five of six shots and grab eight rebounds. During a 76-58 win over SMU, Redding had 26 points and 13 rebounds. Blackman was on target with five of eight shots—he was 17 for 24 after his first three games—and finished with 14 points.
Kansas displayed surprising fire power while destroying Central Missouri 121-65, Fordham 99-67 and SMU 107-71. The first-game output was the highest ever for the Jay-hawks, who began playing basketball in 1898. Against SMU, they stole the ball 16 times, with John Douglas making six of the swipes.
The Show-Me Classic in Columbia, Mo. got off to a confusing start. Early in a first-round game between Texas-El Paso and Northwestern, the officials forgot how many foul shots should be awarded for a technical on the bench. Calvin (I Have but One Shot To Take for My Team) Hale of the Miners was permitted only one free throw, which he made. Then, after a Wildcat basket, the officials realized Hale should have been given two shots. Thus, 43 seconds after making his first foul shot, Hale sank his second, and the Miners eventually won 58-54. Missouri, an 87-66 winner over Butler, continued its domination of the five-year-old tournament by "winning its fifth title with a 74-63 victory over UTEP. Tiger Guard Larry Drew, who scored 35 points in the two games, was named the MVP. Somehow, though, he did not make the all-tournament squad.
Before Purdue played at Indiana State, 1,500 T shirts with the prophetic inscription ISU BEAT PURDUE were on sale for $3 each. Shouted one hawker, "Get 'em now. They're going to be worth a lot more when this game is over." When the game was over, the Sycamores had a resounding 91-63 victory. Excelling for State were Larry Bird (26 points, 17 rebounds, eight assists), Jim Smith (12 points, 11 assists), freshman Leroy Staley (22 points) and Harry Morgan (18 points). On defense, the Sycamores forced 22 turnovers and held Joe Barry Carroll to 14 points.