The largest basketball crowd in Florida history—more than 10,000—watched the final of the Sunshine Classic in Jacksonville but missed the night's most dramatic moment because it occurred off court. Shortly after his team lost to Jacksonville 114-108, Florida State Coach Hugh Durham threw his second-place trophy against a wall in the Seminole dressing room. Durham's free throw was not prompted by the game. State played well—hitting 57% of its shots—but could not match Jacksonville's ability to get the ball. Artis Gilmore, with 26 rebounds, had just one fewer than the entire Seminole team. No, Durham became disturbed at what Bill Basford, the president of Jacksonville Charities, said during the award ceremony: "We have to give FSU something," he said as he named two Seminoles to the all-tournament team. "The crowd was fine, the hospitality was fine and it was a great evening of basketball," said Durham, "but the presentation was bush."
Just as all those Archie buttons are becoming obsolete, the merchants and followers of the University of Mississippi have a new superstar to promote. His name is Johnny Neumann, and he plays, of all things, basketball. The flashy 6'6" sophomore attracted 5,500 fans to the Ole Miss Arena and charmed them with 39 points during the Rebs' 108-96 win over Auburn. Neumann is averaging 40 points a game to lead all Southern scorers and is beginning to receive rave reviews from rival SEC coaches. Says Georgia's Ken Rosemond: "He's been billed as the heir apparent to Pete Maravich, and he deserves it. The kid's for real."
Out East, South Carolina is quickly establishing its power in the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Gamecocks smashed Duke 98-78 in a game that featured a 26-point performance by John Roche. But the ACC should remain interesting this year thanks to two surprise teams, Virginia and North Carolina. For years Virginia settled harmlessly near the bottom of the conference, awaiting an upset role in the league's postseason tournament. But this winter the Cavaliers have suddenly won their first six games, including the Mountaineer Classic with an overtime victory against West Virginia. It was the school's best start since 1915. North Carolina also remained unbeaten by upsetting Creighton 106-86.
With just seconds remaining Louisville's Larry Carter stole a Dayton pass at mid-court and drove in for the game-winning (72-70) basket. Said the jubilant hero, "I was just hoping for a cross-court pass."
It appeared that for the first time in years the Southern Conference would belong to someone other than Davidson. After all, Mike Maloy had gone to the pros and this season's stars. Guard Bryan Adrian and Center Erik Minkin, were injured. But the Wildcats' dynasty is far from over. They destroyed East Carolina, the preseason favorite, 77-61 for their 34th consecutive victory in the league.
1. S. CAROLINA (3-0)
2. JACKSONVILLE (5-0)
Philadelphia is not one of Jim Harding's favorite cities. The town brings back bleak memories, stemming from the time when he was basketball coach at La Salle and his team was placed on probation by the NCAA for recruiting violations. During the investigation Harding was involved in a bitter feud with one of the Philadelphia sportswriters. This season, as coach of the University of Detroit, his team boycotted practice for a week. "After the trouble, I must have received 300 favorable letters," Harding said. "Only two were unfavorable. One was from a crackpot in Dubuque—the other was from Philadelphia."
Last week Harding returned to Philadelphia to play unbeaten Villanova. This time Harding's antagonist was Chris Ford and the Villanova star turned the game into a one-man show. He scored 28 points, assisted on five baskets, took 12 rebounds and made six steals. The result was an easy 95-67 victory over the Detroit Titans. "The best way I can describe this game is that it was like a prizefight," said Harding. "They were mixing it up, and we were backpeddlin'."