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North Carolina held an opponent to under 40 points for the second straight time, on this occasion dispatching Rutgers 59-36 at Madison Square Garden. The game was the first out of state for the Tar Heels and was also a homecoming for four members of the squad. Both factors may have contributed to a sluggish early performance; North Carolina only led 24-19 at the half. But the Scarlet Knights, who shot 21.5%, couldn't capitalize. "We've never had a worse shooting night," said Rutgers Coach Tom Young.
After missing five straight free throws against Princeton, Steve Trumbo of Brigham Young, heretofore an 80% foul shooter, felt the same way—until the final seconds. "Sure I wanted to take the foul shots," said Trumbo. "It was the worst night of my life and I wanted to save my tail." Trumbo made the front end of a one-and-one to give the Cougars a 39-38 win over the Tigers, who then dropped another toughie, 59-55, to Ohio State.
Louisiana Tech, the nation's top-ranked women's team, ran its win streak to 45 with a 68-51 win over Old Dominion in the finals of the Manufacturers Hanover classic. The win left the Lady Techsters just six victories shy of the acknowledged women's record, held by Delta State.
This being the Christmas season, Kentucky Coach Joe B. Hall chose not to go into his customary postgame tirade on his team's lack of killer instinct after the Wildcats' 98-74 win over Seton Hall in the finals of the Kentucky Invitational Tournament. "I'm not going to discuss the second half," Hall said of the period in which the Pirates outscored the Wildcats 48-41. "This is a time of joy and forgiving. But I will say the first half was great. I don't know if any Kentucky team I've coached has run the break that well." In the first half, the 'Cats shot 61% and only turned the ball over twice en route to a 57-26 lead. "That's some kind of team," said Seton Hall Guard Dan Callandrillo, who scored 25 points against the Wildcats. "Their depth makes you wonder who's better—their starters or their subs." Indeed, in a first-round 107-91 victory over Jacksonville, Kentucky's bench contributed 46 points and 12 rebounds.
Georgia rebounded from a 56-54 loss to Mississippi earlier in the week to win the Cotton States Classic, beating Alabama-Birmingham 76-72 in the finals after a 79-66 first-round triumph over Northeastern.
Indiana junior Steve Bouchie looked like his old self as the Hoosiers defeated Tulane 77-59. Hitting just 37% of his shots going into the game, Bouchie canned his first six attempts of the second half and was nine of 16 from the floor for the night. Later in the week, Ted Kitchel came through with 20 points to lead Indiana to a 58-49 win over Kansas State.
Minnesota handed Marquette its worst defeat at home in 16 years, beating the Warriors 76-54. Marquette played without its star guard, Glenn Rivers, who was hospitalized with a bad back, but Warriors' Coach Hank Raymonds thought his team's 32% field goal percentage was the real pain. "We're not going to beat anybody with that kind of shooting," said Raymonds. That was a statement Western Michigan could sympathize with after its 88-46 loss to DePaul. For the game, the Broncos shot 25%. "They couldn't throw a basketball into the ocean standing on the beach," said Blue Demon Coach Ray Meyer.
The final game of the Suntory Ball in Tokyo was a classic basuketto (basketball) matchup between the fasuto burekki (fast break) of Oregon State and the suramu danku (slam dunk) of Louisville. Fasuto burekki won out as the Beavers upset the Cardinals 62-56. The Ball also included Penn, which got trounced 102-64 by Oregon State and 76-68 by Louisville. In the finale, the Cardinals held a 14-point lead in the second half before the Beavers, led by Guard William Brew, rallied. Brew was twice named MVP, while his coach, Ralph Miller, won the Besuto Kochi (best coach) award and Louisville's Derek Smith got a Fighting Spirit award. Said one Cardinal fan, "This is the damndest, awardest-givingest country I've ever seen," thereby winning the fractured-syntax prize.