1. PRINCETON (19-1)
2. BOSTON COLLEGE (15-2)
3. SYRACUSE (17-2)
It was no week for favorites in the East. FORDHAM hardly figured to give Boston College more than a workout. The Eagles had looked good enough to make anybody's top 10 while beating St. Joseph's 83-69. But Fordham's hustlers made 35 of 38 foul shots, Dennis Witkowski scored 21 points and the Eagles went down 85-81. "Maybe it's good psychologically," philosophized BC's Bob Cousy. "We were getting a little cocky."
Providence, which had beaten St. Bona-venture 80-65 and Fairfield 89-71, was sailing along 16 points ahead of NIAGARA with less than eight minutes to play, when suddenly the Eagles began pressing. Their subs, Pete Erwin and Bill Zeits, shot like Jimmy Walker (who was shut out the last 12 minutes after scoring 28 points), and Alan Schug's foul shot caught the Friars 77-76.
Oklahoma City appeared harmless enough while losing to LA SALLE 108-97, and even Coach Abe Lemons joked about his defense. "It's what we call a sieve," he drawled. "I don't think it's going to catch on, though." TEMPLE had drubbed La Salle 79-65 and should have been a cinch to take OKLAHOMA CITY. But OCU's Gary Gray got going, scored 21 points and the Chiefs won 68-65.
Rutgers got hit, too, by LEHIGH'S slowdown 45-43. But Bobby Lloyd salvaged some glory from the upset. He made his first four foul shots before missing, to stretch his NCAA record to 60 straight.
Even PRINCETON had a couple of close calls. The Tigers blew a 14-point lead to Yale and needed Gary Walters' last-second foul shot to win 81-80. The next night Brown had Princeton 54-53 with a minute to go. This time four free throws by Chris Thomforde and Joe Heiser saved the Tigers 57-54. It was enough to make Coach Butch van Breda Kolff brood about CORNELL, next Saturday's opponent. The Big Red, beaten only once in the Ivy League thrashed Dartmouth 86-71 and Harvard 85-71.
Syracuse and ST. JOHN'S escaped the debacle. Syracuse beat Connecticut 90-79, squeezed past Niagara 67-65 on Rick Dean's two foul shots and trounced West Virginia 118-104 as Dean put in 34 points. St. John's was in trouble against West Virginia until a 14-point spree overtook the Mountaineers 83-71. ARMY'S grabby, chest-to-chest defense, which had overpowered Manhattan 69-64, also gave the Redmen a hard time before St. John's prevailed 51-45. "It looked like some sort of guerrilla warfare," observed Coach Lou Carnesecca.
Villanova survived a body-banging hassle (73 fouls) with St. Joseph's to win 78-73, while MANHATTAN beat Canisius 68-65, and NYU, after losing to ST. PETER 69-68, surprised Georgetown 83-77 and then lost to HOLY CROSS 92-85.