Virginia Tech continued to threaten West Virginia's Southern Conference lead. Tech beat Marshall 79-72, got a welcome pickup from a rejuvenated Bob Ayersman (55 points in two games) to defeat Davidson 96-51, William & Mary 92-91 in overtime.
Georgia Tech's Coach John (Whack) Hyder was breathing easier after his Yellow Jackets ran away from Mississippi 91-66, Georgia 80-64, came back in the closing seconds to tie Vanderbilt, win in overtime 74-66. Roger Kaiser, with 32 points, was the Tech hero as he dropped in two foul shots with nine seconds left in the game, got the Jackets going in the extra period with a field goal. "We're over the hump," predicted Hyder. "We got the ones that counted."
While veteran Bill Lickert went for treatment of an ailing thigh, Kentucky did its best to keep step with Tech in the SEC race. Sid Cohen scored 26 points and the Wildcats beat Tulane 68-42, then set down Tennessee 78-68.
The picture in the Atlantic Coast Conference fell slightly out of focus in a weekend in which Maryland upset front-running Duke 56-48, and last-place North Carolina State beat Wake Forest 51-45. North Carolina managed to stay sharp, carefully shot its way past NC State 62-51, Virginia 76-57, moved into first place. The top three:
1. WEST VIRGINIA (15-1)
2. GEORGIA TECH (13-1)
3. NORTH CAROLINA (9-3)
It took some doing, but SMU pulled the rug out from under Texas A&M, brought down the Aggies 66-64. The Mustangs' Kim Nash and Jan Loudermilk never let Carroll Broussard, brilliant Aggie sophomore jump-shooter, out of their sight, held him to four points while 6-foot 7-inch Steve Strange took command of the boards and scored 34 points. SMU had more trouble with much-beaten Baylor, barely edged the Bears 73-71 in overtime. Texas managed to get by Arkansas 72-66, but the Longhorns caught Broussard and Texas A&M on the rebound, lost 72-61. At week's end, Arkansas rolled over Rice 74-63, joined Texas A&M, Texas and SMU in a four-way tie for the Southwest Conference lead.
Border Conference leader New Mexico State showed little regard for home-court streaks, made itself very much at home in Tempe while ending Arizona State's 21-game string 66-58, added a 71-57 victory over Texas Western. The top three:
1. TEXAS A&M (11-1)
2. SMU (10-4)
3. NEW MEXICO STATE (13-3)