With just nine seconds to play and his team trailing lightweight Xavier of Ohio by two points, Canisius' Mike Macaluso stepped to the foul line for two free throws. Up went his first shot. It missed. Hold everything. Macaluso chose to bounce his next shot off the backboard, hopefully into the hands of a teammate who would take the rebound, score two points and send the game into overtime. Up went Macaluso's intentional miss, off the backboard and, swish! into the basket. So Xavier won 74-73. "When we try to miss, we can't," moaned Canisius' Coach John Morrison.
"I don't believe freshmen should play on the varsity," said freshman Gerry Kavanaugh. The doubting one tossed in seven crucial points as Lafayette defeated La Salle 77-68 at home and then hit a perfect 8-for-8 second half in a 94-92 victory over Rutgers. "I still think freshmen should compete on their own level while becoming acclimated to the school," maintained Kavanaugh, who scored enough academically to make the dean's list. Less to that than meets the eye, he said: "I didn't know anyone first term. I didn't have any friends. So I stayed in my room and studied."
Playing with happy abandon, Long Islander Phil Hankinson poured in 24 points, had 10 rebounds and led pent-up Penn to a 77-69 victory over Villanova. Three nights later teammate Ron Haigler, from Brooklyn, grabbed 17 rebounds and scored with only two seconds left to beat Manhattan 52-51. "We play New York-type basketball," said Hankinson afterward, "and that's a lot of fun. You learn to play with a certain amount of creativity. You go to the beach, play ball, the girls watching you. There's nothing I'd rather do than run and jump and get my body turned on."
On the other side of the coin is King Gaskins, a freshman who scored 21 points as Holy Cross (8-8) defeated previously unbeaten Assumption 81-76. "The real difference for me is that basketball is no longer fun here," said Gaskins, a former schoolboy All-America. "The problem is that although I think I am having a pretty good year, I can't seem to please Coach George Blaney. But I realize a good part of this is at least partly my fault. I'm a moody person having trouble trying to adjust." Learning of Gaskins" bit of introspection, Blaney became moody himself. "Remarks like he made shouldn't be in print," said the coach. "I plan to talk with him." Naturally.
Up against Temple without Mel Davis, who is redshirted with a knee injury, St. John's again turned to Bill Schaeffer, this time for 38 points, second highest of Schaeffer's career and one shy of the Alumni Hall record set by Rick Barry in 1964. The Red-men won 93-84.
1. PROVIDENCE (10-2)
2. ST. JOHN'S (11-2)
It all depends upon where you're sitting. Marquette Coach Al McGuire, for instance, was sitting on the bench (sometimes) when his sharpshooters came up cold, hitting only 29.9% from the field, and lost to Minnesota 64-53. That made two straight defeats for Marquette. " Minnesota is well balanced and well coached," said McGuire afterward. "They look to me like the best team in the Midwest." Four days after that a pro scout sitting in the stands watched Minnesota lose to Indiana 83-71. Said he of the Gophers: "Their guards are weak, they don't have any quickness and they're not very smart."
It was a heady victory for Indiana (12-2), and it gunned the Hoosiers into a tie with Purdue for the Big Ten lead. "The biggest part," said Indiana Coach Bob Knight, "was at the end of the half. We could have been down seven points, but we hit four big free throws and cut it to one. It was like starting even again."