Three times last week eastern teams got help from some improbable sources. Temple's Bob Harrington lost one of his contact lenses early in the game against Bucknell and had to go to the bench. His three brothers rushed home by taxi and found an old pair of Bob's glasses. Back in the game, Harrington sank a layup to break a 40-40 tie, then hit three straight jumpers, and Temple won 61-53. Providence's Bob Simoni, on the bench in street clothes because of an ailing knee, got a doctor's clearance to play late in the first half against St. Louis. He scored two quick baskets, and the Friars went on to an upset win, 64-57. Providence also needed some late heroisms—a layup and two free throws by Vinnie Ernst in the last 45 seconds—to squeak past St. Francis 68-67.
Villanova's Richie Richman, who quarterbacked the Wildcats against Oregon State in the Liberty Bowl on Saturday afternoon, took over on the basketball floor that same night when Playmaker Wally Jones fouled out. He helped Villanova take Niagara, an earlier 76-67 winner over Dayton, down to the final buzzer. But Niagara's Bill Kennedy sank a last-minute jump shot, and the Eagles won 73-71. St. John's, too, took a turn at making life miserable for St. Louis. The Redmen matched St. Louis' obdurate defense with one of their own and came from 10 points behind to beat the Bills 54-48.
Pitt surprised Duquesne by opening with a full court press and a furious fast break in the Steel Bowl final, and the bewildered Dukes never recovered. Little Dave Roman scored 20 points, big Brian Generalovich got 25 more as Pitt won easily, 85-59.
St. Joseph's, after a severe 74-46 drubbing by Wake Forest, went to a straight zone to contain NYU's Barry Kramer. It didn't stop Kramer, who scored 29 points, but St. Joe's won anyway, 74-64. Penn and Princeton were still undefeated. Penn downed Swarthmore 104-58 and held off Vanderbilt to win 74-70; the Tigers' Bill Bradley scored a total of 53 points in a 93-68 romp over Colgate and a 65-54 defeat of Navy. The top three:
1. NIAGARA (5-0)
2. PITT (4-1)
3. PRINCETON (5-0)
"This team is just plain selfish," complained Kentucky's Adolph Rupp. "Until these boys start playing like a team instead of five selfish strangers we aren't going to win anything." Last week the Wildcats got together. They fed the ball to Cotton Nash and Don Rolfes for 37 points and beat Florida State 83-54. Northwestern triple-teamed Nash, but he got away from his tormentors long enough to score 27 points as Kentucky won 71-60.
It might take more than togetherness for Kentucky to finish on top in the SEC, however. Challengers were turning up all around the Wildcats. The latest was Auburn, which shuffled in and out of Texas Tech's 2-1-2 zone with calculated efficiency and beat the Raiders with a flawless performance, 86-57. And there was always Mississippi State, a 77-66 winner over Memphis State.
Duke looked more formidable than ever against Vanderbilt and Clemson. When Art Heyman encountered stiff resistance from Vandy's defenders, he turned passer, and the Blue Devils won 90-70. Against Clemson, Heyman fired in 30 points, and Duke downed the passive Tigers 92-67. But Louisville caught the weary Blue Devils with their defenses dragging. The Cardinals were only one point behind with 2:27 to go when Heyman (who scored 35) dropped in two free throws. Duke hung on to win 76-75.