Five of the nation's best teams played in Madison Square Garden during a 48-hour stretch, and Alabama and Rutgers looked the most impressive. The Crimson Tide eked out a 71-67 victory over Providence with 6'9" Center Leon Douglas getting 19 points and 16 rebounds. He also blocked numerous Friar shots after he had picked up his fourth foul. Alabama's tough defense was not restricted to the front court; Guard T. R. Dunn held Providence's star, Joe Hassett, to 14 points.
Whenever Rutgers needed a big basket against Purdue, it went to 6'5" Forward Phil Sellers. He scored 31 points and broke open a close game in the last minute with two lay-ups that sealed an 81-73 victory for the Scarlet Knights. Sellers poured in 36 during a 119-93 rout of Seton Hall two nights later. That same evening Purdue freshman Kyle Macy's 21 points helped Coach Fred Schaus gain a 90-79 victory over his alma mater, West Virginia.
Unlike Rutgers, North Carolina found Seton Hall hard to handle in the Garden. The Tar Heels won 75-63, mainly on Guard Phil Ford's 27 points and flashy floor play. Ford later injured his knee against Virginia Tech, but Coach Dean Smith's underrated bench came through and starting Center Mitch Kupchak contributed 24 points as Carolina won 88-75.
Maryland would have had a much easier time with Richmond if the Spiders' 6'7" Tony Marshall had not been released from jail. Arrested the day before the game on six felony counts, Marshall nonetheless was on hand to work over Terp defender Brad Davis for 25 points, and Richmond trailed by only four points with 6:37 to play. Then Maryland's Steve Sheppard hit his last seven shots to make the final score 98-71 in favor of the Terps.
Nevada-Las Vegas won the Steel Bowl in Pittsburgh by defeating Duquesne 86-83, but the Rebels' joy may be brief. The NCAA last week completed its initial investigation into possible Las Vegas recruiting violations. Whether it will decide to open a formal investigation will not be announced for several months, but one of the NCAA investigators working on this case also uncovered violations at Long Beach State in 1973 that involved Coach Jerry Tarkanian. Tarkanian left Long Beach in the midst of that turmoil; his reprieve may turn out to be short-lived.
Trailing by 15 points in the second half, Marshall (3-0) rallied to beat Austin Peay 79-77, halting the Governors' winning streak at four. Earl Williams got the winning basket and scored 19 points. Game-high honors went to teammate Dave Miller and Austin Peay freshman Sammy Drummer with 22 apiece.
Princeton came from 17 points behind to defeat Navy 60-59, Boston College squeaked past Harvard 72-71 on Ernie Cobb's jumper with five seconds left, St. Bonaventure surprised Georgetown in overtime 63-59 and South Carolina annihilated Oklahoma 80-59 behind Alex English's 32 points.
1. MARYLAND (3-0)
2. NO. CAROLINA (3-0)