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San Francisco 49ers scored come-from-behind 27-20 victory over Green Bay, forcing Western Division playoff with Detroit Lions, who defeated Chicago 21-13 (see page 10). Los Angeles spoiled Baltimore's hopes for three-way tie, knocking down Colts 37-21. In East, Cleveland's champions closed out regular season by healing New York 34-28.
Pacific Coast Conference, heading for ruinous explosion ever since it threw heavy penalty marker at, four member schools for giving illegal aid to athletes, blew up with loud bang heard as far as Big Ten, when three southern members, California, UCLA, USC, decided to secede (see page 19). Drastic move may terminate PCC- Big Ten Rose Bowl tie-up, could also be beginning of end for 42-year-old conference.
Dallas Highland Park clicked on 59-yard pass play in closing minutes to earn 20-20 deadlock before 30,000 at Dallas, broke Abilene High School's record 49-game winning streak when peculiar lie-breaking formula (one point for each penetration of 20-yard line) put, them ahead 5-3 and into state title final.
North Carolina, its winning streak stretched to 36, and Kansas were still among nation's unbeaten teams at week's end, but Kentucky came to grief at hands of scrappy Maryland 71-62, then bounced back to beat St. Louis 73-60. In first of many holiday tournament finals, Duquesne defeated Pitt 81-64 in Pittsburgh's Steel Bowl; Mississippi State outdefensed Auburn 52-37 in Birmingham Classic; Cincinnati outscored Xavier 79-68 in own invitational.
St. Louis Hawks, fired up by slick-shooting Bob Pettit and Cliff Hagan, ran off five straight, including 97-94 triumph over near-invincible Boston, began to put plenty of daylight (and 5� games) between themselves and second-place Cincinnati Royals, who dropped four in row, in NBA Western Division. Celtics proved to be human after all, bowing to Hawks and New York Knicks 106-103, but were still so far ahead in East, that major battle was for second place with Syracuse, which took three out of four, leading Knicks and Philadelphia.
Vic Seixas, picking up slack when jittery young Herb Flam and weary old Gardnar Mulloy stumbled badly, gave one of his better performances to beat Belgium's Jackie Brichant 10-8, 6-0, 6-1 in payoff singles for 3-2 victory at Brisbane, moved U.S. into Davis Cup challenge round against imposing Australians. Seixas and Flam won opening singles, but Brichant and Washer struck back to take doubles, and Washer upset, below-form Flam 6-2, 6-3, 0-6, 6-3 to even score. Close call gave Captain Bill Talbert food for thought, indicated possible shakeup which may put power-hitting young Barry MacKay into singles spot for bout with Aussies, who named Mal Anderson, U.S. champion and winner over Ashley Cooper for Victorian title last week, Neale Fraser, Mervyn Rose and Cooper to defend Cup at Melbourne Dec. 26-28.
USLTA, meanwhile, gave Seixas his due, tentatively ranked him No. 1 in men's singles for 1957, ahead of Flam and Dick Savitt, but dropped last year's leader. Ham Richardson, and Budge Patty, both of whom (along with Savitt) turned down bids to join Davis Cup team, for "insufficient data." Also ranked No. 1: Althea Gibson, first Negro to win Wimbledon and U.S. titles, women's singles; Brooklyn's Alan Roberts, junior singles; San Diego's perky Karen Hantze, girls' singles (see below).