Providence was tied with St.Joseph's College with less than five minutes remaining and faced the possibility of losing its third game of the season. But then the Friars' stringent defense took over and Providence won 81-75. Against Rhode Island three days later, Ernie DiGregorio scored a career-high 39 points as the Friars ended the week with a 102-81 victory.
Rhode Island's Steve Rowell had earlier been involved in a rare six-point play. He scored a basket, was fouled, hit the free throw and then sank three of four technical foul shots awarded the Rams when New Hampshire Coach Gerry Friel protested too loudly.
Syracuse prepared for its Valentine Day meeting with St. John's by whipping Fordham 73-71 and West Virginia 82-66. "We may have made Syracuse look better than they are but that's to Syracuse's credit," said the dismayed Mountaineer coach, Sonny Moran, afterward. "They did everything right and almost everything we tried went wrong."
Penn State Coach John Bach almost suffered apoplexy when he first spied Ron Brown at the start of fall basketball practice. During the off-season Brown's weight shot up from 207 pounds to a hefty 254. Opposition fans nicknamed him Fat Albert. Now slim and trim at 214 pounds, Brown scored 16 points and defensed the Temple ball handlers as if they were so many calories as Penn State beat Temple 64-49.
Massachusetts scored the final 15 points and beat Boston College 76-52. Colgate visited Canisius and suffered its ninth road loss 75-54, of an otherwise undefeated season. St. Bonaventure darkened its postseason hopes with two losses, to Fairfield 72-60 and to South Carolina 75-74.
1. PROVIDENCE (16-2)
2. ST. JOHN'S (17-2)
Louie Kelcher plays defensive tackle for the Southern Methodist football team but last week he came out of the stands and made a great short-yardage play late in a basketball game. With one second left and the Mustangs leading A&M by a point, a free-for-all erupted around SMU Coach Bob Prewitt. Kelcher blitzed out of the stands, picked Prewitt up and carried him back to the bench for safekeeping. With a 6'4", 260-pound peacemaker on hand, the brouhaha subsided. SMU won 64-62, but lost later in the week to Texas Tech, 64-59, in a face-off for the Southwest Conference lead.
In a major battle between two very big fish in the small-college pond, Sam Houston State beat Stephen F. Austin 81-67 to up its record to 19-0.