For many of the nation's finest teams it was an anxious week, one of playoffs and tournaments and sweating it out as they sought berths in the NCAA tournament. One exuberant winner was Iona Coach Jim Valvano. After his team stopped St. John's 63-57 for the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference Metropolitan championship, Valvano said, "We own the Big Apple." To get to the finals, the Gaels had to overcome Seton Hall in the first round, battling back from four points down at halftime to win 80-73. Iona then blew most of its 18-point lead against St. John's but hung on with the help of Jeff Ruland's 24 points.
In a matchup labeled the EC AC Upstate New York Southern championship, Georgetown, which is in Washington, D.C., rallied for a 66-58 victory over Syracuse. The Hoy-as, who trailed 30-28 at halftime, prevailed when John Duren flicked in 11 points in the second half. The Orangemen scored only five points in the first 9� minutes after intermission. To qualify for the matchup, Georgetown beat Old Dominion 73-52 and Syracuse ran its winning streak to 19 games by clipping St. Bonaventure 83-71. Despite losing, St. John's and Syracuse got NCAA bids.
Bruce Harrold, a 57% foul shooter during the regular season, twice came through in the clutch as Temple took the East Coast Conference tournament. Harrold made four free, throws in the last 1:19 to knock off Lafayette 53-50 and he sank two foul shots with 23 seconds left as the Owls edged St. Joseph's 61-60 in the title game. The Hawks led 28-19 before having their four-corner offense shredded by Temple's 2-1-2 defense. Explained Owl Coach Don Casey, "I got the 2-1-2 from Coach John Chaney of Cheyney State. The guy in the middle plays zone, the others keep switching."
Another poor foul shooter suddenly found the range as Rutgers built its record to 21-8 by taking the Eastern Eight tournament. Kelvin Troy, who was 58% from the line during the season, sank 21 of 3-1 free throws as the Scarlet Knights downed Penn State 67-57, West Virginia 55-52 and Pitt 61-57. To come out on top, Rutgers also needed a flurry of points from James Bailey, who tossed in 55 in the three victories.
Connecticut won the ECAC New England title by beating Boston College 91-74 and knocking off Rhode Island 58-50. In the wrap-up game, freshman Corny Thompson's three-point play broke a 41-41 tie and put the Huskies ahead for keeps.
By beating Western Carolina 65-43 and Furman 86-83, Appalachian State won the Southern Conference tournament and ran its record to 23-5. Darryl Robinson ensured the Mountaineers' first-ever trip to the NCAAs with 26 points against Furman.
Penn put the finishing touches on its eighth 20-win season in 10 years. With Tony Price picking up 35 points and picking off 15 rebounds, Penn beat Yale 94-81 and Brown 83-75.
1. NORTH CAROLINA (23-5)
2. GEORGETOWN (24-4)
3. SYRACUSE (25-3)