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Bradley, Missouri Valley co-leader with Cincinnati, had its troubles in the West, finally escaped with close victories over Seattle 83-80, Gonzaga 80-68. Back home in their comfy Peoria gym, the Braves crushed North Texas State 101-61, but faced a trying problem: how to find a replacement for talented Bobby Joe Mason, who last week completed his college eligibility. Meanwhile, St. Louis' burly 6-foot 10-inch Bob Nordmann began to throw his 270 pounds around, helped the Billikens beat Wichita 75-67, Tulsa 83-56.
The chase was about over in the Big Ten. There was simply no stopping Ohio State. Against Michigan, the reserves took over, humbled the Wolverines 99-52. Against Northwestern's slowdown the varsity ran away to a 77-58 win. Minnesota, unseasonably hot a week earlier, was cooled off by Michigan State 84-63. Indiana, showing signs of coming alive, out-scored Northwestern 76-58, Wisconsin 97-85, but the Hoosiers' title chances were hurt by three early-season losses.
Colorado, perked up by the accurate-shooting Wilky Gilmore, knocked off Iowa State 70-55, Big Eight leader Kansas State 65-50. Dayton got another good game from Gary Roggenburk (23 points) and trimmed Miami of Ohio 72-60; Detroit managed to get by Marquette 65-58 but fell before Toledo 69-61. The top three:
1. BRADLEY (17-1)
With a loud W-a-a-a-r E-a-g-g-1-e! and a late flurry of points, Auburn downed Georgia Tech 48-45 and halted for a moment the Yellow Jackets' rush to their first Southeastern Conference title in 22 years (see page 42). Four nights later, back on its home court, Tech was back on the track, befuddled Tulane with a full-court press and Coach Whack Hyder's favorite spread offense, tumbled the Green Wave out of contention 74-55. With Dave Denton working off a high post for 21 points while Roger Kaiser shot over a harried defense for 15 more, Tulane never had a chance. Admitted Tulane Coach Cliff Wells: "If I can't win the championship, I would like to see Georgia Tech take it. I'm tired of having Kentucky use the rest of us in the league as a stepping stone to a national reputation—and if Adolph Rupp has to lose it, it couldn't happen to a nicer guy." But Kentucky was still in the fight. Even without ailing Bill Lickert and scholastically indisposed Bennie Coffman, the Wildcats got enough outside shooting from Sid Cohen and Dick Parsons to hold off Mississippi 61-43.
North Carolina's Atlantic Coast leaders, strengthened by the return of Doug Moe, last year's sophomore star, tied up Maryland with a tight zone, got 48 points from Lee Shaffer and York Larese, whipped the Terps 75-66 before 14,000 at College Park. Right behind the Tar Heels came Wake Forest, whose sophomore Center Len Chappell helped the Deacons beat Duke 80-63, then dropped in the basket that edged Maryland 65-64.
George Washington, making good use of the hot hands of Dick Markowitz and Jon Feldman, shocked Virginia Tech 105-90, knocked the Gobblers out of the Southern Conference lead. However, the Colonials couldn't maintain the pace, went the way of most flesh at Morgantown as Jerry West led West Virginia to an easy 101-79 triumph. Earlier in the week, West scored 39 points as the Mountaineers swamped VMI 101-71 to start a new winning streak. The top three:
1. WEST VIRGINIA (18-2)