Providence Stuns St. John's In Big East

Posted: March 07, 1987

NEW YORK — Providence guard Billy "The Kid" Donovan is no longer just another spunky little gym rat.

The baby faced 5-10 senior has become a full-fledged star in the Big East.

Donovan scored a Big East tournament record 34 points last night as the Friars (21-7) defeated St. John's, 80-51, at soldout Madison Square Garden to advance into today's semifinal against Georgetown.

Donovan, who shot 11-for-17 and was 8-for-8 from the line, totally upstaged St. John's All America candidate Mark Jackson and PC gave the favored Redmen (20-8) their worst tournament loss ever.

"It's like the year I spent with the Knicks," Providence coach Rick Pitino said. "Everytime we got the ball low to Bernard King, we knew something good was going to happen. The same thing with Billy."

Donovan was the catalyst who fueled the Friars to their third consecutive victory over the Johnnies and did nothing to hurt the growing rumor that Pitino is a strong candidatefor the head coaching job with the New York Knicks.

"I've always loved the pros," Pitino said, "because the players control the outcome."

The Friars, on paper, do not appear to have as many talented players as St. John's. But, Pitino has gotten a lot of mileage out of players like Donovan, who spent his first two years as a benchwarmer.

"We make Billy wear black sneakers to make him look slow," Pitino said. ''He looks like the All America boy, your typical Catholic school kid who you'd expect to run your offense. But, he has blinding speed in the middle of the floor."

When Donovan is operating in cruise control, the Friars look more like the Boston Celtics. PC shut out Jackson in the first half and outscored St. John's, 46-25, in the second.

"Providence is for real and Donovan had one of the great performances for a guard in the Garden," St. John's coach Lou Carnesecca said. "Not only did he make shots, it was how he got them, how he utilized picks."

Donovan, who played 39 minutes against the Johnnies because backup lead guard Carlton Screen injured his right knee, will have to gear up again against the pressing Hoyas.

"We're staying right across the street from Central Park," Pitino said. ''I think I'll have him run around the block tonight before he goes to sleep."

Pitt 96, Seton Hall 88: Pat Cavanaugh enrolled at Pitt this year with dreamsof making the football team as a walk-on.

As it turned out, the Panthers' 6-2 freshman guard is playing a big part during Pitt's dream basketball season.

Cavanaugh scored 13 points as the Panthers (24-6) raced into today' semifinals against Syracuse with a convincing victory over Seton Hall.

"I was playing quarterback for the scout team," said Cavanaugh, who attended Army Prep in Fort Monmouth, N.J., last year. "When I heard Paul Evans was having problems finding bodies because three of Pitt's recruits were Proposition 48 victims, I asked him if I could try out."

Cavanaugh shifted gears in early November, just before the Miami game, and has since emerged as the Panthers' third guard. Cavanaugh got the Panthers out of first gear against the Pirates, fueling a 61-point second half outburst that more than made up for the fact stars Charles Smith, Curtis Aiken and Demetreus Gore were zombies.

Sophomore forward Jerome Lane led the Panthers with 23 points and 14 rebounds. Mark Bryant scored 24 points for the Hall.

Georgetown 56, Boston College 51: Georgetown coach John Thompson called it a "Hail Mary" victory. But, the Hoyas' victory over Boston College was typically Georgetown.

Reggie Williams' the Hoyas' 6-6 senior All America forward, scored 24 points and the Hoyas (24-4) held the the Eagles without a field goal in the final six minutes after BC had taken a 48-47 lead with 6 minutes to play.

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