Jerry Lucas, Ohio State's eagerly awaited 6-foot 8-inch sophomore, spent some anxious moments (left) learning to fathom Wake Forest's sinking zone, but caught on in time to lift the Buckeyes past the Deacons 77-69. He was even more adept in his next two games, blithely snaring rebounds, tipping in goals and feeding off to Guards Mel Nowell and Larry Siegfried as Ohio State battered Memphis State 94-55, and Pitt 94-49. His three-game totals: 74 points and 66 rebounds.
But, even with Lucas, the Buckeyes have a long way to go before they claim the Big Ten title. Michigan State, minus the stars who carried it to the crown last season, brought down Bowling Green 96-67 and Notre Dame 61-56. The Spartans aren't dying just yet. Neither is Indiana, which breezed past Ball State 103-63.
St. Louis fans who were bemoaning the graduation of Bob Ferry can stop worrying. The Billikens have an adequate replacement in Bob Nordmann, a 6-foot 10-inch, 270-pounder who threw his weight around in wins over Abilene Christian 89-64, St. John's and Kansas State 67-58.
Cincinnati's Oscar Robertson, as marvelous as ever, filled the baskets to overflowing with 88 points, and the Bearcats trounced Indiana State 107-62 and Marshall 102-61.
Kentucky, straying far from comfortable Lexington, spent one night too many in Los Angeles. The Wildcats, after barely squeaking past UCLA 68-66 on Sid Cohen's five points in the last 90 seconds, came back for more the next night and took an 87-73 licking from twice-beaten USC. The Trojans simply outdefended unhappy Kentucky as Captain John Werhas, who scored 19 points, held veteran Bill Lickert to a mere three.
NCAA Champion California, as deliberate as ever, opened with a 59-47 victory over its Santa Barbara branch; Stanford outscored San Francisco 55-49 and San Jose State 69-31, but Gene Womack's last-second field goal dumped the Indians (their first loss in 18 home games) for St. Mary's, 53-51.
Utah, the Skyline favorite, blistered Los Angeles State 104-80. However, trouble looms ahead for the Utes. Utah State's Aggies, who set down Idaho State 86-67, Seattle 85-73 and Portland 74-67, look mean and hungry.
The mercurial Southwest Conference was down to three unbeaten teams—Texas A&M, Texas and Baylor—in its first wearing week of intersectional strife. Arkansas, SMU and TCU were all beaten. One bright spot came from dark horse Baylor, which won three straight over Howard Payne 84-53, Oklahoma State 53-50 and Tulsa 69-54. Another was SMU's surprise victory over Minnesota 73-60.