St. John's routed Providence, 72-53, Saturday at Madison Square Garden to win the Big East Conference regular-season championship.
"We won the pennant," St. John's Coach Lou Carnesecca said after the Redmen's final regular-season game. "Today was the season. We didn't want to back in."
If St. John's had lost, it still could have won the title if Georgetown lost to Syracuse today. It was the first outright Big East title for the Redmen, who were involved in three-way ties for the top spot in 1979-80 and again in 1982-83.
The Redmen (25-2 overall, 15-1 in the Big East) also clinched the top-seeded spot in next week's Big East tournament at Madison Square Garden. They will face the winner of Wednesday night's elimination game between Providence and Seton Hall the following evening.
Chris Mullin scored 18 points for the Redmen, and center Bill Wennington had 16 points and a career-high 15 rebounds. Walter Berry added 16 points and freshman Shelton Jones a career-high 12 points--nine in the second half--along with seven rebounds.
Wennington and Ron Stewart carried Carnesecca from the locker room back to the court during a four-minute post-game ovation. It was St. John's first game since Georgetown snapped the Redmen's 19-game winning streak, 85-69, on Wednesday night.
Providence trailed, 51-46, with 6:23 remaining, but the Redmen ran off 14 straight points, seven by Jones, to take a 65-46 lead.
Providence (10-19, 3-13) was led by Ernie Lewis with 12 points.
Memphis St. 66, Louisville 59--At Memphis, Keith Lee, a 6-10 forward who holds all of Memphis State's scoring and rebounding records, finished his regular-season career with 15 points and 12 rebounds to lead the fourth-ranked Tigers to their second win over the Cardinals this season.
Junior point guard Andre Turner added 14 points for the Metro Conference champion Tigers (24-3, 13-1).
Memphis State honored Lee in ceremonies before the nationally televised game by retiring his No. 24 jersey.
Jeff Hall scored 14 points for the Cardinals (15-15, 6-8), who finished the disappointing season on Coach Denny Crum's 49th birthday.
N.C. State 66, Wake Forest 64--Anthony (Spud) Webb had three points and a steal in the last 31 seconds as the Wolfpack, ranked 16th and 19th, won at Raleigh, N.C., to take a share of first place in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
The Wolfpack (19-8, 9-5) are tied with Georgia Tech and North Carolina. A drawing will be held today to determine which team will be top seeded in next week's ACC tournament.
North Carolina State trailed, 64-61, with 3:04 left. But the Wolfpack went ahead when Webb hit a short jumper with 24 seconds left. Webb then had his steal, was fouled and hit one of two free throws.
Kenny Green led Wake Forest (15-12, 5-9) with 20 points.
North Carolina 78, Duke 68--The Atlantic Coast Conference victory for the Tar Heels at Durham, N.C., left them tied for the conference championship with North Carolina State and Georgia Tech.
The ACC tournament, which begins Friday at Atlanta, determines the conference champion.
Center Brad Daugherty had 23 points and 12 rebounds as North Carolina (22-7 overall) ran its streak to 19 straight years of not finishing lower than second in the ACC. Duke (21-6, 8-6) got 25 points from Johnny Dawkins.
Michigan 87, Northwestern 66--Center Roy Tarpley had 21 points and 14 rebounds as the third-ranked Wolverines won at Ann Arbor, Mich. Richard Rellford added 19 points, hitting 6 of 9 field-goal attempts and 7 of 7 free throws.
The Wolverines (23-3, 14-2) clinched the Big Ten title last Thursday by beating Wisconsin, 88-68. Northwestern (6-21, 14-2) got 24 points from Andre Goode.
Illinois 86, Purdue 43--Ken Norman scored a career-high 25 points to lead the Illini at Champaign, Ill., as the Boilermakers suffered their worst defeat since a 98-54 loss to Illinois in 1948.
The Illini (22-8, 10-6) have won 22 straight at home. Purdue (18-8, 9-7) lost to Illinois by 24 points last season, but the Boilermakers routed the Illini, 54-34, in January.
Ohio State 78, Minnesota 77--Dennis Hopson scored on a rebound off a missed free throw with 1:02 left to play at Minneapolis as the Buckeyes (18-8, 10-6) held off the Gophers (13-13, 6-10). Hopson's basket gave Ohio State a 77-75 lead. Troy Taylor scored 25 points for the Buckeyes.
Michigan St. 82, Wisconsin 63--Sam Vincent scored 27 points and backcourt mate Scott Skiles added 24 to lead the Spartans (18-8, 9-7) to a Big Ten win at East Lansing, Mich. The Badgers are 13-14, 4-13.
LSU 67, Kentucky 61--John Williams, two-time Los Angeles 4-A Player of the Year from Crenshaw High, scored 17 points and Jerry Reynolds got 13 of his 15 points in the second half at Baton Rogue, La., as the Tigers (19-8, 13-5) won the Southeastern Conference championship for the third time in six years. Kentucky (16-11, 11-7) got 22 points from Ed Davender.