1. BOSTON COLLEGE (16-3)
2. PRINCETON (20-2)
3. SYRACUSE (19-2)
It had been eight years since BOSTON COLLEGE last beat Providence and Coach Bob Cousy had lost four straight to Joe Mullaney, his old Holy Cross teammate. No wonder, then, that it sounded like New Year's Eve in BC's Roberts Center when the Eagles led by 17 points after 5:21 of the second half. Quick little Billy Evans, ball handling and passing like a pro quarterback, and Steve Adelman, firing in long and medium jumpers, led the BC assault while a tight 2-3 zone shut off Jimmy Walker and the other Friars. Then Walker went to work. Dribbling deftly for position, he shot over the zone for 20 points in the next 12 minutes, and pretty soon he had Providence ahead 76-73. But big Willie Wolters put in four foul shots and a layup to get BC back in the game, and Jack Kvancz's two free throws with 34 seconds to go won for the Eagles 83-82. Walker finished with 33 points, Adelman with 31, but Mullaney raved about Evans. "We pressured him, we did everything," he said admiringly, "but still he passed over us."
There was bedlam at CORNELL, too, where 8,000 jammed into Barton Hall in great expectation. Princeton (page 20) was unbeaten in the Ivy League and ranked third in the nation, but the Tigers had been having their troubles lately and the Big Red had won nine in a row. Sure enough, Cornell stayed right with Princeton on the shooting of Walter Esdaile, and pulled ahead in the last three minutes to win 62-56.
Right now, SYRACUSE is the hottest team in the East. The Orange had 12 straight after walloping Colgate 100-86 and Georgetown 108-95 on 27 points by Richie Cornwall and 26 by Rick Dean. It was a harrowing week for ST. JOHN'S. The Redmen survived an unruly display by Villanova's home fans—they hurled cans at the officials and chanted loud curses—to beat the Wildcats 59-52, then trounced Niagara 66-48 at home and squeaked past old rival Fordham 54-52 on John Warren's two foul shots. The Villanova affair had some drastic repercussions. School authorities switched the Wildcats' final home game to Providence, VILLANOVA'S players, who were not involved, went about their business. They edged Canisius 47-44 and knocked off La Salle 68-59 to win Philadelphia's Big Five title, TEMPLE polished off Delaware 66-48 and Navy 92-70.
It has not been much of a season for NYU but Mal Graham, an acrobatic shooter who leads the nation in scoring, piled up 45 points as the Violets upset Manhattan 76-63. ARMY, however, beat NYU 68-55. Rutgers also lost to the Cadets 77-59 in between victories over Navy 83-49 and Delaware 95-72.
1. WESTERN KENTUCKY (20-1)
2. NORTH CAROLINA (18-3)
3. TENNESSEE (17-4)
Tennessee's Ray Mears likes his offense and defense disciplined, and you had better not make a mistake against his team. The patient Vols proved that last Saturday in Knoxville. They were wrapped in a tense 24-20 struggle with Vanderbilt for the SEC lead when suddenly the Commodores let up momentarily. In less than a minute Tom Hendrix rebounded his own shot, Bill Justus beat Vandy's Tommy Hagen twice one-on-one, and Tennessee had a 10-point lead. Vanderbilt never recovered, and the Vols won 70-53. "We just played our game," said Mears.
Clemson's little Bobby Roberts had the ACC in a dither. His team beat Duke 73-68 for the first time in five years and then the Tigers went after North Carolina, the ACC leader. The Tar Heels had won a couple of easy ones, over North Carolina State 77-60 and South Carolina 80-55, and Roberts figured they were ready to be taken. They were, too. Only two Carolina starters and one Clemson regular were left at the end—all the others fouled out—but Randy Mahaffey threw in 31 points and Clemson finished on top 92-88. "We were loose and relaxed, fat and happy," grumbled Carolina's Dean Smith. "There's a fine line between confidence and complacency."