Georgetown Coach John Thompson said his decision to pull his team off the floor late in the first half of the game at Providence Saturday was because he is "an alumnus (of Providence), not just a coach."With 38 seconds left in the first half, Patrick Ewing went to the foul line with his team ahead, 34-30. At that point, someone raised a sign saying "Ewing can't read." A security guard grabbed the sign and destroyed it.

The 19th-ranked Hoyas went on to win, 78-70.

Ewing, who refused to discuss the sign afterward, played with much more emotion in the second half, scoring 18 of his 26 points on seven-of-10 shooting from the floor, to help his team break open the game.

The Hoyas' players downplayed the incident but Thompson said, "You have to realize when Ewing gets fired up, he goes to war."

The Hoyas got a bit of good news as forward Anthony Jones, sidelined with a separated left elbow the last six games, said he is fine and hopes to play Wednesday against Seton Hall at Capital Centre. Jones dressed at Providence, but didn't play.

Maryland, led by the play of center Ben Coleman, squeezed past Notre Dame, 68-67, at Cole Field House. Coleman, who has come on strong lately, scored 19 points and had nine rebounds and five blocks as the Terrapins (9-5) won their second straight.

"Coach (Lefty) Driesell has worked with me on being real conscious of foul trouble. He told me to stop getting the reaches and over the backs (fouls)," said Coleman, who had four fouls, but played 38 minutes against the Irish. "I have to stop getting the cheap fouls that take me out of the game and hurt my team."

Elsewhere in the area, George Washington rallied from a 17-point halftime deficit before Penn State made six free throws in the waning seconds and escaped with a 75-72 victory in an Atlantic 10 game.

Virginia withstood Clemson's 15 three-point shots and won, 105-87. Cavalier center Ralph Sampson was held to a season-low four points.

American got 16 points from Mark Nickens and easily defeated Lehigh, 62-48; Navy edged Richmond, 57-55; UDC stopped Lincoln (Pa.), 81-69, and George Mason, despite a 36-point effort from Carlos Yates, lost at James Madison, 68-66.

Nationally, Houston's seven-foot Nigerian center Akeem Abdul Olajuwon had 11 blocked shots and 10 rebounds in just 20 minutes as the 14th-ranked Cougars (15-2) took sole possession of first place in the Southwest Conference with a 75-60 victory over fourth-ranked Arkansas. It was the Razorbacks' first loss in 15 games.