Kentucky, making it a habit to rise up as time wears down, crunched its opponents in the second half for two Southeastern Conference victories. The Wildcats played listlessly for much of the night against Vanderbilt and led only 32-23 at halftime, but exploded for 15 straight points to go ahead 55-31. James Lee, who came off the bench in the second half to score 15 of his 17 points, led the Wildcats to their 72-59 win. Florida, playing at its infamous Alligator Alley after 11 consecutive road games, hoped to knock off Kentucky. The score was tied 31-31 before the Wildcats tossed in the last seven points of the first half. The Wildcats won 86-67, got 20 points from Kyle Macy and shot .610 as Lee canned eight of nine field-goal attempts and Rick Robey seven of eight.
Georgia, which had stunned Ohio State and Louisville the week before, came up short in two of three SEC encounters. In between a 76-69 loss to Auburn and a 96-78 drubbing by LSU, the Bulldogs were 57-54 winners over Florida. Alabama squeezed by Mississippi 65-62 and LSU 70-67 and clobbered Mississippi State 76-59.
Michigan State, Purdue and Michigan each won a pair of Big Ten games. Minnesota overcame a 31-23 halftime deficit at State to go in front 76-71. Then it was the Spartans who surged, scoring 10 points in 44 seconds and going on to win 87-83. Two freshmen ignited the Spartans, Earvin (Do It All) Johnson coming through with 31 points (25 of them in the second half), eight rebounds and four assists, and Jay Vincent scoring 22 points. Michigan State also beat Wisconsin 74-63. Walter Jordan scored a total of 41 points and Joe Barry Carroll had 32 rebounds as Purdue defeated Illinois 95-85 and Northwestern 87-62. Michigan beat Northwestern 80-65 and Minnesota 69-65.
After winning their Big Ten openers, Indiana and Ohio State were upset. Even though Indiana won 69-51 at home against Iowa, Coach Bobby Knight was perturbed because the crowd did not "generate more enthusiasm" and because of his Hoosiers' "disgraceful" play. Knight was really annoyed when Indiana lost at home to Illinois 65-64. After the Buckeyes had beaten Wisconsin 77-61, they were in turn jolted by Iowa 87-75.
With Centenary leading 10-8 at Marquette, the Warriors' Bernard Toone and Jim Boylan tossed in three quick baskets apiece as the home team pulled away for a 72-56 victory.
2.NOTRE DAME (7-2)
"This is about The fifth game he's won for us this way," said Louisville Coach Denny Crum of Rick Wilson after the Cardinals had ended Cincinnati's home-court winning streak at 69 games. To the dismay of the largest crowd ever to watch an Ohio college game (17,038), Wilson rallied Louisville to a 78-75 Metro 7 win. The Cardinals trailed by six points with 8:58 to go, went ahead 76-75 on Darrell Griffith's basket with 19 seconds left and then salted the game away when Wilson forced a turnover, drew a foul and sank two free throws.
Wilson, called "the best all-round player in the conference" by Cincinnati Coach Gale Catlett, was instrumental in another 78-75 triumph. That was at Memphis State, where he put the Cardinals in front 76-75 on a three-point play with 29 seconds left. James Bradley's 29 points kept the Tigers close, but Louisville got 24 from Wilson and 23 from Griffith.