Although many of the nation's college basketball players were busy with midyear exams, some mixed baskets with books. This versatility was best demonstrated by Ohio State, which methodically stretched its winning streak to 18. However, DePaul, after 11 in a row, reluctantly left the unbeaten ranks.
While St. John's and Ivy League leader Princeton sat out the week in the classrooms, St. Bonaventure tuned up its fast break and whipped Canisius 96-76. The quick Bonnies, led by eager sophomore Fred Crawford and casual Tom Stith, ran Canisius bowlegged, left their New York neighbors far behind before the reserves took over.
Providence, forced into double overtime by ambitious Niagara, finally won 76-74 when big Jim Hadnot calmly dropped in two foul shots with four seconds to play. Pitt, suddenly emerging from obscurity, tossed a scare into West Virginia before losing 73-68, then outfought Temple 80-75 in overtime. Army, bigger and more talented than in recent years, edged Williams 60-58 on Ron Hannon's buzzer shot and beat Columbia 48-40 with superior defense for its sixth straight. Penn tied up Villanova's Hubie White with a tight zone and surprised the Wildcats 63-62, but lost to LaSalle 67-63. The top three:
1. ST. BONAVENTURE (14-1)
2. ST. JOHN'S (10-2)
3. PRINCETON (9-2)
Taunted by rivals ( Maryland cheerleaders spelled out P-R-O-B-A-T-I-O-N), NCAA-banned North Carolina nevertheless went grimly about its business. York Larese and Doug Moe scored 14 of the Tar Heels' 18 field goals as North Carolina beat Maryland 58-52. But Coach Frank McGuire was far from pleased: "I told them to stop standing around admiring Larese and Moe and give them some help." Against North Carolina State, the Tar Heels did just that. Larese and Moe scored 27 each, Jim Hudock helped out with 20, and North Carolina won handsomely, 97-66, to tie idle Duke for the Atlantic Coast Conference lead.
It seemed unlikely, but Mississippi State was in command in the Southeastern Conference. The young Maroons gave Georgia Tech's Roger Kaiser the long shots (and 31 points), concentrated on stopping the Jackets inside and beat them 62-61 in overtime on six points by Jerry Graves. Mississippi was next, and State flurried for 26 points in the last six minutes to win 63-40.
"They could kick up quite a fuss," said West Virginia's George King before his team played Virginia Tech. But Tech kicked up a fuss long before the game started. Coach Chuck Noe suspended starters Bucky Keller and Bob Ayersman for disciplinary reasons ("they were more than an hour late for a normal squad function"), and Tech was no match for the Mountaineers at Morgantown. Rod Thorn and Jim McCormick wrecked the VPI slowdown, scored 41 points between them, and West Virginia won 83-72 to break a tie for first in the Southern Conference. Earlier, Furman upset The Citadel 92-84 to knock the Bulldogs out of first place.
Louisville, beaten by Xavier 84-77, picked a nationwide TV date to snap a two-game losing streak. The Cardinals cracked Dayton's zone, caught the Flyers in a cold spell and won 63-50. The top three: