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St. Bonaventure and Dayton also scored first-round victories. Holy Cross managed to match the streaking Bonnies in a 41-41 first half with a harassing 2-3 zone and the marksmanship of Jack (The Shot) Foley, who jumped and flipped in 36 points over the heads of his tight-guarding opponents during the game. But the capable Stith boys, Tom and Sam, finally caught up to the Crusaders for 52 points between them, pulled St. Bonaventure in front 94-81 for its 17th straight.
Dayton, a five-time NIT finalist but never a winner, took heart from a 72-51 conquest of Temple. The taller Flyers had the Owls blinking with their rebounding, never let up after they ran off eight straight points for a 36-27 half-time lead. But Coach Tommy Blackburn had his fingers crossed. He still had to face Bradley Tuesday night.
THE SMALL COLLEGES
The names weren't famous, but the stakes were just as big at Evansville, Ind., where the NCAA college-division title was settled, and at Kansas City, where 32 teams tortuously weaved through eliminations in the NAIA tournament.
Despite drifting snowstorms and slick highways, 27,836 fans found their way to Evansville's Roberts Municipal Stadium for four double-headers, watched gleefully as the Evansville Aces won their second straight NCAA crown. But first the Aces had to overcome a sensational 54-point spree by American U.'s Wee Willie Jones, a fascinating 5-foot 9-inch gunner with Globetrotter aspirations. This they did when Ed Smallwood, a husky jump shooter, poured in 41 points, led them to a 101-91 triumph. Then they outfought Kentucky Wesleyan 76-69 in a savage semifinal battle.
Meanwhile Chapman College of Orange, Calif., a tiny school with an enrollment of 420, was unexpectedly making its way to the final by beating Wheaton 73-67 and Cornell of Iowa 79-64. However, the plucky Panthers were no match for Evansville. The Aces won 90-69 as Smallwood scored 23 points, was named the tournament's most valuable player.
At Kansas City, Westminster (Pa.) squeezed the ball with profound concentration, shocked three-time NAIA champion Tennessee A&I to win 39-38 in the semifinals. But Southwest Texas State, gaining momentum with successive victories over Wisconsin State 93-69, Savannah State 101-88, Grambling 76-68 and William Jewell 82-44, was settling for nothing less than first place. In the final the Texans broke to an early lead on the hook shooting of Charlie Sharp (who scored 150 points in five games), made Westminster come to them and beat the Titans 66-44 for the championship.
While Boston and St. Louis, winners of division titles, enjoyed fat-cat rests, the NBA second-and third-place teams busily hustled for the dubious right to face the champions in the playoffs. Out of the money this year were New York's Carl Braun and Cincinnati's Tom Marshall, who wound up in the cellar. Braun took off for Seattle to search for new talent; Marshall took off from the Royals for good.
In the East Philadelphia and Syracuse split the first two games, awaited a third game to decide Boston's opponent. The Warriors, in the playoffs for the first time in two years, overwhelmed Syracuse 115-92, then lost to the Nats 125-119 when Johnny Kerr found Wilt Chamberlain's number, "held" him to 28 points.