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Whether or not Knight was right about Homer, Indiana's 64-41 thrashing of Purdue was a sad episode in the Boilermakers' odyssey. The Hoosiers held Purdue to a miserable 33.3% from the field. They then shot 69.7% in a 67-55 victory over Illinois. After that victory, Knight grabbed the public address microphone at Assembly Hall and told the crowd, "We need you one more time."
The "one more time" will be the Hoosiers' game this week against Ohio State in Bloomington for the Big Ten title, the third time in four years the Buckeyes will battle for it in front of hostile fans. If the Hoosiers win, they will clinch their first title in three years. A Buckeye victory would leave the two teams with identical 12-6 records, but Ohio State would claim the title by virtue of its sweep of the season series. Nonetheless, the prospect of once again being forced to settle the Big Ten race on the road so upset Buckeye Coach Eldon Miller that after Ohio State's 74-73 overtime loss to Illinois in Columbus he snapped, "If anybody mentions championship to me again, I just might punch him in the mouth."
Miller was no doubt still furious about his team's horrid free-throw shooting; Ohio State, which began the week as the nation's top foul-shooting team (.780), hit just 15 of 27 from the line against Illinois. The Buckeyes recovered two days later against visiting Purdue, getting 14 points apiece from Larry Huggins and Tony Campbell in a 76-65 win.
After LSU clobbered Kentucky in Baton Rouge for the second straight year, 74-60, Tiger Coach Dale Brown was thinking of food. "Oh boy, dinner is going to taste good tonight," said the ebullient Brown. The Tigers, who two weeks ago were 14-11 overall and 5-8 in the SEC, gladly would have accepted scraps from the NIT's table. But thanks to Howard Carter's 23 points against the Wildcats and eight victories in LSU's last 10 games, the Tigers are 10-8 in the SEC, seeded second in next week's conference tournament and can taste an NCAA berth. Kentucky, the tournament's top seed, opened the week with a 61-58 win at Mississippi.
A few moments after Louisville had won its 1,000th game ever, a 73-64 Metro Conference victory at Virginia Tech, Cardinal Coach Denny Crum's thoughts turned to a nationally televised rematch with Memphis State. "We've got to play well on Sunday or else we'll get thumped," Crum said. "We beat them at Memphis, and they're going to come into our place shooting for revenge."
But the Tigers must now wait until the Metro Conference tournament in Cincinnati to deal one back to the Cards. With Milt Wagner hitting a jump shot from the edge of the free-throw line with one second left in overtime, Louisville won 64-62. Louisville opened the week with a 66-58 win over Murray State while Memphis State defeated Cincinnati 84-77 and Florida State 94-67.
During his team's seven-game losing streak to Arkansas in Fayetteville, Houston Coach Guy Lewis seemed to preface every postgame comment with "C'mon guys, let's get out of here." But after a 74-66 victory over the Hogs, the Coogs lingered at Barnhill Arena long enough to cut down the nets.
Houston chopped up the Razorbacks with a 2-3 zone defense and some torrid shooting by reserve swingman Benny Anders, who scored 18 points and hit eight of nine shots from the field. Houston's 93-64 romp at Baylor, made the Cougars the first team to go through a Southwest Conference season unbeaten since Arkansas was 16-0 in 1977. Houston, 16-0, has now won 24 straight conference games, tying the record established by Rice in 1928. The Owls would undoubtedly like to have some of those wins back. An 82-55 pasting by Arkansas left them 8-19 for the season and 2-14 in the league.
Yugoslav Center Zarko Durisic hit a pair of free throws with :29 left in the second overtime to give Wichita State a 97-96 win at Bradley. The Shockers ended the regular season with a 25-3 record and won the Missouri Valley Conference regular-season title, but they won't be playing in the NCAA tournament because they are on probation. "I'll always remember this team because of its cohesiveness," said senior Forward Antoine Carr. "We've been through a lot." Carr made his final homecourt performance a memorable one, scoring a school-record 47 points in a 109-83 rout of Southern Illinois.