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Those were not earthquakes that rocked San Francisco; the tremors were caused by the USF falling flat on its reputation as it lost to teams from coast to coast—California and Rhode Island. Phil Smith, a former San Francisco player now with the NBA Warriors, easily spotted the trouble with the wan Dons. "They've got to be more aggressive on the defensive boards," Smith pointed out. "They can't count on fancy shooting to get back what they give up." Even though four Bears fouled out in the final seven minutes, the USF-Cal game came down to the last second. That was when Gene Ransom, a 5'9" guard who scored 19 of his 23 points in the second half, was fouled with the score 89-89. Before Ransom could try the first shot of his one-and-one, San Francisco Coach Bob Gaillard attempted to rattle him by calling three time-outs. When Ransom finally went to the foul line, he sank his first shot and deliberately skimmed his next off the rim to start the clock and let the final second tick away before USF could rebound. James Hardy had 34 points for the Dons.
Bill Cartwright, who missed San Francisco's first eight games because of a broken arm, played the next night against Rhode Island and had 14 points in 14 minutes. But Cart-wright's return to center meant Hardy had to shift to forward, where he scored only 10 points. Free throws by Phil Kydd and Sly Williams of the Rams in the last 50 seconds offset a Cartwright basket and gave the visitors an 87-85 win.
Fisticuffs, which have marred NBA play in Los Angeles this season, erupted in an L.A. college game between San Jose State and UCLA. Bruin Guard Raymond Townsend, who was punched twice by Ron Lowe of the Spartans, suffered a fractured upper jaw, which will keep him out of action for several weeks. UCLA won 109-69 as Brad Holland came off the bench to score 19 points. Against New Mexico State, the Bruins were tied at 34-all at halftime before spurting to an 86-67 decision. Roy Hamilton sank his first nine shots of the second half and scored 20 of his game-high 23 points after the intermission.
Like a roulette player on a hot streak, unbeaten Nevada-Las Vegas kept defying the odds while winning its own Rebel Roundup. Vegas, which had previously won three one-point games and others by three, five and six points, twice pulled out victories in the closing moments. In its opening-round game against Northwestern, Vegas fell behind by 14 points in the first half before Tony Smith began gunning in 25-footers. Earl Evans and Smith clinched a 101-95 verdict, each sinking a pair of foul shots in the final seconds. Smith wound up with 26 points, and Reggie Theus with 22 to offset a 37-point spree by Wildcat Guard Tony Allen.
UNLV had an even rougher time in the finale against Iowa, which had upended Tennessee 92-86. MVP Theus had 19 points in the Rebels' 85-84 win, but Evans was the main man with 23 points and a decisive tip-in two seconds before the end.
Utah State had a pair of two-point victories, beating BYU 91-89 and toppling Utah 73-71 on Oscar Williams' layup with four seconds remaining. The Aggies also stopped West Texas State 80-62, and in their three wins got 78 points from Guard Keith McDonald. Utah was also jolted by Weber State 71-61.