San Francisco, which last season left its 29-game winning streak in South Bend and was not quite the same afterward, has finally asserted itself. The Dons avenged their loss to Notre Dame with a solid 79-70 victory at the Oakland Coliseum. San Francisco outrebounded the Irish 39-25, harassed them with a 1-2-2 zone and broke open a tight struggle in the second half. With the Irish ahead 48-47, the Dons went on a tear, pumping in 16 of the next 18 points, 12 of them by Doug Jemison and Rod Williams. Notre Dame was also unable to handle Bill Cartwright, who broke loose for 20 points and nine rebounds. Convincing, too, were two WCAC victories in which James Hardy excelled. During a 101-68 romp over Portland, Hardy had 24 points, 14 rebounds and eight dunks. Then, with the Dons leading Seattle by only 61-58, Hardy capped his 26-point effort with three quick baskets: a slam, a fallaway jumper and a backdoor dunk. The Dons won 93-80.
Nevada-Reno stayed atop the WCAC by taking road games at Loyola Marymount 71-58 and Pepperdine 83-50. The Wolf Pack also threw a scare into Utah, leading 44-41 at halftime as Johnny High and Michael Gray hit on 13 of 20 shots. In the second half the Utes pressured High and Gray, held them to 4-for-20 shooting and won 80-70.
With a flurry of points from its guards and a surprisingly effective zone defense, UCLA took over undisputed possession of first place in the Pac-8. Ray Townsend had 23 points as the Bruins trimmed Oregon 90-72, and Roy Hamilton had 15 as they beat Oregon State 77-60. The zone, almost never used during John Wooden's days at UCLA, enabled the Bruins to pull away from the Ducks after David Greenwood sat down with four fouls early in the second half. Southern Cal lost to Oregon State 89-82 in overtime, and then beat Oregon 63-62.
New Mexico became only the third WAC team in 16 years to win successive games at Arizona State and Arizona. During a 91-84 win at State, the Lobos led in rebounds 51-32, made eight steals, blocked eight shots and got 23 points from Forward Marvin Johnson. Then, before the largest crowd in the state's history—15,156 fans jammed Arizona's 14,890-seat McKale Center—the Lobos stopped the Wildcats 93-81 as Johnson came through with 20 points.
Also winning a pair of WAC games was Colorado State, which jolted defending titlist Utah 72-64 and Brigham Young 76-66. In the latter game the Rams got 26 points and 12 rebounds from 6'5" sophomore Barry Young. Utah came back to top Wyoming 71-63. Utah State ran its record to 12-3 with a 75-73 win over Idaho State and a 102-66 triumph against James Madison.
Nevada-Las Vegas was coasting along with a 75-59 lead when Illinois State suddenly got hot. State pulled to within 93-90 on a shot by Guard Ron Jones, who had 34 points and 10 rebounds, but then Reggie Theus sank a foul shot for the last of his 26 points, and the Rebels prevailed 94-92.
Fresno State, which began the week with the best defensive average among Division I teams—the Bulldogs were allowing 55 points a game—improved on that. After beating Cal-Irvine 45-40 in their Pacific Coast AA opener, the Bulldogs dealt Cal-Santa Barbara a 73-53 setback.
It was bombs away when Freeman Williams of Portland State played against George Fox College. Last season's NCAA scoring champion unloosed 62 shots from the field, most of them from long range, and made 32 on his way to a 66-point game. State won the game 124-81 as Williams raised his scoring average to 32.1, 6.7 below his 1976-77 figure.
1. UCLA (13-1)
2. NEVADA-LV (15-2)
3. NEW MEXICO (11-2)