Navy, unbeaten on its court this season, and American U., which survived and early road schedule nicely, both play at home tonight and will try to build on surprisingly good records at the season's halfway point.
While Navy entertains Catholic U. at 7:15 in Annapolis and American hosts Richmond at 8 at Ft. Myer, Georgetown takes to the road for a 7:30 game against 12-1 Holy Cross.
American played nine of its first 12 games on the road and coach Jim Lynam acknowledged he would have been happy with a 6-6 record. Instead the Eagles went 7-5, routed Bucknell Saturday and can equal their longest win streak of the season, three games, tonight.
Calvin Brown, AU's smooth 6-foot-5 forward, was East Coast Conference player of the week. The men most responsible for beating Temple at the Palestra and Bucknell were Howie Lassoff and Dante Fulton.
Lassoff, 6-9 center, scored 39 points in the two games, increasing his season's average to 11 points a game. Fulton, a guard, made 12 of his 16 shots.
Navy, which upset Georgetown and lost respectably to Maryland last week, seeks to improve its 8-6 record at the expense of a young, improving Catholic team, which has lost a number of close games in a 4-7 season.
Navy outrebounded both Georgetown and Maryland. The question tonight is whether the Mids will play with the same enthusiasm now that they are favored.
Coach John Thompson is trying to take the pressure off his Hoyas to win on the road. They are 47-8 at McDonough Gym in his five seasons, but they are 0-1 on the road and 3-2 on neutral courts in this 10-3 season.
His players' zest for the game apparently plummeted after Georgetown fell to undefeated Alabama by two points in the Carolina Clasic. Now, three weeks and two losses later, Thompson doesn't want a recurrence if the Hoyas lose at Worcester.
"It's big that we try to keep this game in perspective," said Thompson. "They're tough at the Cross and we're tough at home."
Holy Cross is 18-1 at home in the last two seasons. The Crusaders are 12-1 this season, losing to Florida in the Gator Bowl tournament with its two biggest wins over Providence and Massachusetts.
The star attraction at Holy Cross is freshman guard Ron Perry, the athletic director's son. His style is not flashy, but he directs the Crusaders in a way coaches appreciate. He has only 23 turnovers in 462 minutes. He also averages 22.9 points a game.
The Crusaders lost their starting center, 6-8, 225-pount John O'Connor, in a freak accident recently when a referee stepped on his foot and he ruptured an Achilles' tendon. Charlie Brown, a 6-10 freshman, has replaced him.
For Georgetown, Thompson will continue starting 6-9 Ed Hopkins at center. Thompson benched 6-11, 255-pound Tom Scates two games ago in favor of the more experienced, more agile Hopkins.