Ron Rowan hit a jumper with eight seconds remaining and Walter Berry blocked Dwayne (Pearl) Washington's shot at the buzzer to give No. 5 St. John's a 70-69 victory over No. 8 Syracuse Saturday night at New York for the Big East Conference championship and an automatic berth in the NCAA tournament.
The Redmen never led until Rowan's 12-foot jumper from the base line. They trailed by 13 points in the first half and by 41-28 early in the second half.
A 15-4 run, with Mark Jackson hitting three baskets and Willie Glass five points, put St. John's (30-4) back in the game at 45-43.
Syracuse (25-5) pulled ahead again by as many as seven points twice before Marco Baldi, a 6-11 freshman reserve from Italy, hit six straight points to pull the Redmen within 63-61 with 4:09 left. At that point, Rony Seikaly, the Orangemen's 6-10 center, fouled out.
Washington had 20 points and 14 assists.
Glass led St. John's with 19 points, followed by Berry with 16 and Rowan with 13. Jackson had 10 points and nine assists, giving him an NCAA record 311 assists for the season, breaking the mark of 309 by Houston's Reid Gettys in 1983-84.
Kentucky 83, Alabama 72--Reserve Cedric Jenkins sparked a surge late in the first half and Kenny Walker scored 16 of his 20 points in the second half at Lexington, Ky., as the third-ranked Wildcats (29-3) rallied to win the title after trailing by nine points in the first half.
Kentucky trailed, 43-40, at halftime after two baskets and two free throws by Jenkins, a 6-9 sophomore. He added another field goal and free throw early in the second half as the Wildcats moved in front. He scored 13 points.
Alabama (22-8) was led by sophomore Derrick McKay with 20 points. Buck Johnson, leading scorer in the two previous games, was held to 12 points before fouling out with 5:36 left in the game.
Memphis State 73, Florida State 71--Andre Turner scored 12 of his 17 points in the second half, including a seven-foot jumper with six seconds left at Louisville, to carry the No. 10 Tigers (27-4) into today's championship game against Louisville.
PeeWee Barber had 28 points for Florida State (12-17), but twice he lost the ball to Turner on steals in the final minutes.
Baskerville Holmes had 19 points for the Tigers who outrebounded the Seminoles, 44 to 28.
Louisville 86, Cincinnati 65--The 11th-ranked Cardinals (25-7) made 38 of 53 free throws as a tournament-record 62 fouls were called and 81 free throws were attempted.
Herbert Crook led Louisville with 19 points, followed by Jeff Hall with 16. Roger McClendon had 13 points for Cincinnati (12-16).
Louisville led, 40-22, at halftime, and Cincinnati never got closer than 13 points.
Kansas 72, Oklahoma 70--Danny Manning scored 18 points, including two free throws with six seconds left, as the second-ranked Jayhawks (30-3) held off the No. 15 Sooners (25-8) in the semifinals at Kansas City.
David Johnson had 20 points for Oklahoma, but he picked up his fourth foul with 9:44 left and, while he was on the bench, Kansas expanded a two-point lead to 70-64 with 2:34 left when Johnson returned.
Iowa State 75, Nebraska 58--Jeff Hornacek scored 17 points as the Cyclones (20-9) scored the first six points of the second half after being held to a halftime deadlock of 30-30. Bernard Day scored 17 points for Nebraska (19-10).
Texas A&M 55, Texas 47--Don Marbury scored 22 points and Winston Crite scored 13 of his 15 points in the second half as the Aggies (20-10) used an 11-0 blitz to break a 31-31 tie and turn back the Longhorns (18-11) in the semifinals at Dallas.
John Brownlee, 6-10 Texas center, who was voted SWC Player of the Year, was smothered by 6-9 A&M center Jimmie Gilbert, and managed only six points.
Texas Tech 71, TCU 67--Tony Benford scored 22 points as the Red Raiders (16-13) put away the Horned Frogs (21-8) with a 12-0 run the second half.
Texas El Paso 65, Wyoming 64--Juden Smith, rebounding his own missed shot, scored with 37 seconds left at Laramie, Wyo., and the Miners (27-5) overcame the Cowboys (20-11) and gained an automatic berth in the NCAA tournament.
Fennis Dembo of Wyoming scored 28 points and Eric Leitner added 23, but missed two key free throws in the final minutes. Dave Feitl scored 19 points for UTEP, and Smith had 15.