A spate of upsets was topped off by Furman's 83-70 conquest of North Carolina. With Al Daniel popping in 29 points, the Paladins took a three-point half-time lead and kept adding to it in the opening game of the 21st annual North-South doubleheaders in Charlotte, N.C. Later that night, North Carolina State beat Virginia Tech 97-88. The next day, the teams swapped opponents, State defeating Furman 73-63 and North Carolina struggling past Tech 92-80 in overtime as Tar Heel Al Wood scored 33 points. Hawkeye Whitney, who had 43 points in State's wins in the North-South, had 43 more at Clemson. But that was not enough as the Tigers came out on top 85-72. Virginia's Jeff Lamp scored 71 points as the Cavaliers toppled Temple 73-71 and won two ACC games, 69-63 at Maryland and 83-76 at Wake Forest.
Duke took a half-game lead over North Carolina in the ACC, winning 75-60 at Wake Forest and beating Maryland 87-78. In the first encounter, Mike Gminski made 12 of 16 shots, scored 26 points and latched on to 13 rebounds. Against the Terps Jim Spanarkel canned 11 of 12 field-goal tries, scored 27 points and had eight assists.
Superb long-range shooting enabled Oral Roberts to destroy Georgetown's press and pull off a 75-74 shocker. Rhode Island was also upended, St. Joseph's (Pa.) handing the Rams a 55-48 setback.
But there was no stopping Syracuse or La Salle. With Louis Orr scoring 22 points and tying a team record with 13 assists and with Dale Shackleford getting 27 points, the Orangemen swept past West Virginia 90-74. For La Salle, the main man was Michael Brooks, whose twisting layups and jump shots accounted for most of his 28 points in a 123-103 win over American University that pushed the Explorers' East Coast Conference Eastern Section record to 7-0.
There was a scramble for first place in the Southern Conference. Furman (6-2) beat Western Carolina 78-68 behind Jonathan Moore's 32 points. Appalachian State (8-3) trimmed Davidson 84-72 and knocked The Citadel (5-2) from the lead 76-65.
1. DUKE (16-3)
2. N. CAROLINA (16-4)
3. SYRACUSE (18-2)
"Like a fist, we all stuck together," shouted Darwin Cook of Portland after his 17 points helped jolt San Francisco 85-82. As the Pilots rallied from a 72-64 deficit by running off 14 straight points, Jose Slaughter, who finished with 22 points, and Rick Raivio, who contributed 22 points and 16 rebounds, led the way. At Seattle, Bill Cartwright of San Francisco scored 28 as the Dons won 72-58. That left USF tied for the WCAC lead with Pepperdine, which beat Nevada-Reno 85-78 and St. Mary's 77-73.
Southern Cal stayed within half a game of UCLA in the Pac 10 as both won twice. After a 69-59 conquest of Washington, USC swamped Oregon 87-64, forcing 27 turnovers and getting 25 points and 13 rebounds from Cliff Robinson. UCLA used strong finishes to win 65-58 at Oregon and 69-56 at Oregon State. The difference at Oregon, Bruin Coach Gary Cunningham felt, was that his big men were "more aggressive and more aware." That they were, controlling the boards and triggering eight fast-break baskets. Like the Ducks, the Beavers made a run at the Bruins, only to have UCLA put on a closing spurt. UCLA shot 72.7% from the floor in the second half and got 23 points from Brad Holland.