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A blizzard kept Connecticut from playing St. John's in New York and Syracuse from journeying to Landover, Md. to play Georgetown, but nothing could stop the Redmen and the Hoyas from brawling at the Capital Centre. St. John's won the game 75-69, with the Redmen's Chris Mullin scoring 25 points, shooting seven of 11 from the floor and a perfect 11 from the line.
But the oncourt violence that marred the two teams' first meeting this year at Madison Square Garden continued. With 17:28 to go in the game, Billy Goodwin of St. John's and Georgetown's David Wingate traded punches and both benches emptied. Goodwin was charged with a flagrant foul and ejected. Twenty-two seconds later, the benches cleared again when the Hoyas' Michael Jackson charged into the Redmen's Kevin Williams on a rebound attempt.
The incidents have troubled Hoya Coach John Thompson, the unwitting architect, some say, of his team's bellicose style of play. "Last night was the most frustrating," Thompson told Dave Kindred of The Washington Post after the St. John's game. "I'm sick about the situation.... For the first time I wondered, 'What the hell am I, a boxing manager or a basketball coach?' "
The key to Minnesota's chances in the Big Ten race, according to Gopher Coach Jim Dutcher, was simple. "We need a split in our series with Indiana," he said. "If we don't get it, Minnesota and everybody else in the Big Ten will be playing for second place." If what Dutcher says is true, the Gophers' 63-59 loss to the Hoosiers, which gave Indiana a sweep of the season series, put them in an awfully big hole.
Ted Kitchel, the Big Ten's top scorer, got 26 points, including a jumper with 8:44 left that put Indiana ahead to stay, 51-49. Two days later Kitchel added 21 points and Randy Wittman had 26—with 12 of 16 shooting from the field—to lead Indiana to a 75-56 rout of Wisconsin. Badger Coach Steve Yoder could have spoken for the rest of the Big Ten when he asked reporters, "How in hell can we take the guys we got and beat Indiana when they are playing like this?"
After Purdue beat Iowa and Northwestern in West Lafayette two weeks ago, the Hawkeyes and Wildcats showed the Boilermakers that turnabout is fair play with a little home cooking of their own. Iowa defeated Purdue 55-46 behind Greg Stokes' 18 points and 10 rebounds. Northwestern whipped the Boilermakers in Chicago 66-55, marking the first time in three years that the Wildcats have won five conference games. "We may lose nine in a row," said Purdue Coach Gene Keady afterward. The Boilermakers might well do that if their shot selection doesn't improve; Purdue missed 15 of 17 three-point attempts against Northwestern.
Louisville got 27 points from Guard Lancaster Gordon and 22 from Rodney McCray in an 81-73 victory over Marquette in Milwaukee. Gordon hit 11 of his first 12 shots from the floor, moving Marquette's Mark Marotta to remark, "We knew he was good, but we didn't think he was that good."
As Kentucky moved into sole possession to first place in the SEC (page 16), Tennessee split a pair of conference games, beating LSU 66-63 in Knoxville behind Dan Federmann's 20 points but losing to Mississippi State 75-66 in Starkville. Georgia was the biggest loser; the Bulldogs dropped their second straight home game, 76-59 to Ole Miss, and then lost a 73-71 heartbreaker to Alabama.