No Washington player made the all-tournament team at the Far West Classic, but the Huskies did not mind because their muscular front liners and a guard with rhythm enabled them to earn what they wanted most, the first-place trophy. Washington beat Texas Tech 83-61 in the final game, getting 18 points in the first half from 7-foot Center James Edwards and 20 in the second half from Guard Clarence Ramsey. "Clarence is inclined to shoot from downtown, but when he develops his rhythm, I've learned not to yell, 'Don't,' " said Huskie Coach Marv Harshman. Washington later bombed Seattle 106-75 as rhythmic Ramsey kept Harshman almost speechless with 19 first-half points.
UCLA's Richard Washington started the new year with resolve. He flipped in 30 points in a 111-79 rout of Denver, was the MVP at the Bruin Classic in which he played both center and forward and scored 24 points in an 86-70 conquest of Notre Dame. The Bruins also got ample assistance from their improving guard corps. During the Bruin Classic, Andre McCarter flicked in three foul shots in the closing 41 seconds to put down Santa Clara 52-48, and Jimmy Spillane (17 points) and Ray Townsend (14) came off the bench to help the Bruins stop Purdue 99-86. Sixth-man Spillane had 17 more points and six steals against Denver, and Townsend put in 19 against Notre Dame.
The championship of Honolulu's Rainbow Classic went to Southern Cal, whose Marv Safford had 30 points in an 81-73 final-game victory over Iowa. Previously unbeaten Cincinnati lost to Arizona 71-64 and Holy Cross 66-65 and finished seventh in the eight-team tournament. Back on the Mainland, USC (11-1) edged Nevada-Reno 88-87 in overtime on a 25-foot corner jump shot by Safford that went in as the buzzer sounded.
A fourth Pacific Eight tournament winner was California, which defeated West Virginia 82-68 for the Lobo Invitational crown.
1. UCLA (10-1)
2. WASHINGTON (11-0)
Tennessee's double-trouble combo of Ernie Grunfeld and Bernard King was in top form all week. In the Vols' Southeastern Conference opener, a 79-73 victory at Georgia, Grunfeld had 25 points and 14 rebounds, King had 23 and 12. Earlier, during the first round of the Sugar Bowl tournament, Grunfeld popped in 36 points to finish off Perm 77-70. In the finals against Tulane, Tennessee led at the half 51-37, with King and Grunfeld accounting for 38 points. The Vols won 97-73 as King finished with 37 points and tournament MVP Grunfeld with 36.
Kentucky stunned Notre Dame 79-77 behind 18-point performances by Mike Phillips and Truman Claytor, whose two late fast-break baskets rattled the Irish. The Wildcats were considerably less stunning in their SEC opener at Mississippi State and lost 77-73. A tenacious defense and 26 points by Leon Douglas carried Alabama past Vanderbilt 83-66. Auburn bounced LSU 102-86 as Mike Mitchell scored 31 points and Guard Eddie Johnson had 15 assists.
Four days before, LSU had absorbed its first loss, falling to DePaul 70-67. The Blue Demons (9-2) then toppled Providence 91-66 as Dave Corzine scored 22 points, grabbed 12 rebounds and had six assists.