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Inquisitive New Yorkers—some 18,239 of them—who filled Madison Square Garden to watch Cincinnati and its marvelous Oscar Robertson in the Holiday Festival weren't disappointed. Little St. Bona-venture, far from the homey Olean ( N.Y.) Armory where it has won 89 straight, tried desperately to bell the marauding Bearcats but merely succeeded in muzzling them for a half, finally bowed 96-56. The Bonnies, led by hustling Sam Stith, crowded the Cincinnati middle for a while, but Robertson, with substantial help from talented pro-type Playmaker Ralph Davis and Sophomore Paul Hogue, a strong-bodied 6-foot 9-inch rebounder, stuffed the basket to overflowing in the last eight minutes and finished with 47 points for a new Festival record.
In other first-round games Dartmouth spun in and out of a zone, sag and press to slow down unbeaten NYU, but still the Violets won 78-68; Iowa, making the most of moving blocks and aggressive ball-handling by pint-sized Guards Ron Zagar and Mike Heitman, defeated jittery St. John's 91-84; St. Joseph's, down 10 points midway in the second half, sufficiently confused Manhattan with a sniping, pressing zone to overhaul the usually meticulous Jaspers 84-70.
Providence came off three defeats by Bradley, St. Louis and St. John's to sneak past touring Santa Clara 62-60. However, the Californians returned home reasonably satisfied after beating St. Bonaventure 69-48 and Connecticut 54-47. Canisius edged Pitt 89-82 and Wisconsin trounced Boston College 95-82 in the Queen City tournament. The top three:
1. NYU (6-0)
Georgia Tech's Yellow Jackets buzzed into Dallas with high hopes and a 13-game winning streak only to discover that SMU was not impressed by either. The Mustangs shrewdly gave up the outside to Roger Kaiser (who scored 25 points), protected the inside with careful zealousness and left it up to showboating Max Williams (20 points) and Rebounder Steve Strange (19 points) to outshoot and outdefend Tech. They did, and SMU won 80-71. Next night, Georgia Tech Coach John (Whack) Hyder changed his strategy. He moved ball-handling whiz Dave Denton to the high post, and it paid off with a 63-60 victory over Texas Tech.