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Call 'em the Ohio State Blackeyes. Fast-collapsing Ohio State acquired its first shiner of last week when Michigan State routed the Buckeyes 74-54. In that game the Spartans resembled their national championship team of last season rather than the back-in-the-pack squad they've been lately. Ohio State was so harassed by Michigan State's matchup zone that it missed 10 of its first 13 shots and never controlled the tempo of the game. Furthermore, Buckeye Guard Kelvin Ransey, who had scored in double figures in 80 consecutive outings, was held to six points. The Spartans were sparked by Jay Vincent, who tallied 21 points and had 14 rebounds.
Ohio State got its second black eye when it lost to Wisconsin for the second time this season, 70-67. It was a "six-point play" by Claude Gregory of the Badgers that cost the Buckeyes most dearly. With only 7:20 to go and Ohio State holding a seemingly safe 59-48 advantage, Wisconsin reeled off 12 straight points, Gregory accounting for the final half dozen. His spurt began when he sank four free throws, two after being fouled following a rebound and two more after Ohio State Coach Eldon Miller, who protested that one of his men had been fouled, was hit with a technical. On the Badgers' ensuing inbounds play, Gregory latched on to a missed shot and concluded his six-points-in-13-seconds effort by flicking the rebound through the hoop. A subsequent Gregory basket, a Larry Petty foul shot and two more free throws by Gregory locked up the victory.
Led by Arnette Hallman, Purdue moved a game ahead of Indiana, Minnesota and Ohio State in the Big Ten race. The Boilermakers avenged last season's costly loss to Iowa, which had left them in a three-way tie for the conference title and dropped them out of consideration for the NCAA tournament. Despite the absence of playmaker Ronnie Lester, who reinjured his right knee, the Hawk-eyes trailed only 47-42 when Purdue's big man, Joe Barry Carroll, went to the bench with his fourth foul. But while Carroll sat for five minutes, Hallman scored seven points and got three rebounds to push the Boilermakers safely in front. Hallman wound up with 15 points, 13 rebounds and three blocked shots as Purdue won 70-56. Purdue then settled a score with Indiana, which had beaten the Boilermakers in last year's NIT. Although Carroll fouled out and scored just seven points, ending his string of 59 games with 10 or more, Hallman again took command, pumping in 16 points and grabbing nine rebounds as the Boilermakers won 56-51.
Although Minnesota had earlier earned a share of first place when Kevin McHale had 22 points and 12 rebounds during a 74-64 conquest of Northwestern, the Gophers fell back after Iowa handed them their first home loss of the season, 73-63.
DePaul and Notre Dame, the nation's two top independents, breezed. A 102-71 drubbing of North Texas State was the 37th at-home victory in a row for the Blue Demons, who were led by Mark Aguirre's 29 points, eight assists and five blocked shots. Thirty-one points by Rich DiBenedetto were not enough for Davidson, which lost to the Irish 105-71. Orlando Woolridge, who sank nine of 11 field-goal attempts, had 20 points for Notre Dame and was backed up by John Paxson's 19 and Tracy Jackson's 18.
The whistles never stopped blowing during Tennessee's 83-75 loss at Kentucky. Seventy-one personal fouls were called: 36 against the Wildcats, who lost one player for fighting and five on fouls, and 35 against the Vols, who also lost a putative pugilist and had one player foul out. In between whistles, Reggie Johnson collected 28 points and 14 rebounds for Tennessee, while Kentucky's Kyle Macy fired in 22 points and had 10 assists. Three days earlier, the Wildcats overcame a 12-point deficit at Auburn and won 64-62 when Dirk Minniefield hit a 20-foot shot with one second left.
Louisiana State began the week by cutting the Wildcats' Southeastern lead to half a game with a 65-60 win at Kentucky. DeWayne Scales had 21 points and 14 rebounds in that victory, the first of three for the Tigers. LSU blew a 16-point lead over Vanderbilt, but pulled out an 83-81 decision, thanks to a pair of late baskets by Howard Carter and a 30-point night by Durand Macklin. Carter, a freshman forward-guard, then scored 22 points to carry the Tigers to a 75-63 triumph at Mississippi State.
One of the week's most productive performers was Frank Edwards of Cleveland State. Edwards took over at point guard for an injured teammate and had 85 points, 19 assists and nine steals as the Vikings won three times.
1. DePAUL (19-0)