As it turned out, all Villanova's Greg Woodard needed was some encouragement.
"I told him he could become the best shooter in the country before the game," Villanova Coach Rollie Massimino said.
The junior forward responded by making six of eight three-point shots and scoring 28 points as the Wildcats beat No. 14 Louisiana State, 93-91, in the Tip-Off game Saturday at Springfield, Mass.
"I believed him," said Woodard, who averaged 11 points a game last season. "After talking to coach Massimino, I always feel like a different player. He gives me confidence."
Massimino said his team needed the outside shooting because it couldn't handle 7-foot-1 center Shaquille O'Neal.
"We tried four of five different ways to stop him," Massimino said. "And he still got the ball, because he is so big and strong."
Despite getting in early foul trouble, O'Neal finished with 24 points and 11 rebounds.
The Tigers pulled to within 92-91 with 47 seconds left on a tip-in and foul shot by Harold Boudreaux. But then O'Neal, who played most of the second half with four fouls, missed a baseline jumper and Villanova's Lance Miller got the rebound with three seconds left.
Miller, who finished with 16 points, was immediately fouled and extended the lead by making one of two free throws.
No. 5 North Carolina 99, San Diego State 63--The Aztecs got closer than 20 points only once in the second half at Chapel Hill, N.C., when Arthur Massey's layup made it 57-38 with 18:12 left. But a 16-6 run capped by two free throws by George Lynch with 12 minutes left extended North Carolina's lead to 73-44.
No. 7 Alabama 72, Delaware 47--The Crimson Tide wore down the Blue Hens with a tough defense and a deep bench at Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Alabama pulled away in the last 10 minutes, taking a 53-33 lead on Robert Horry's jump shot with 7:55 left. The Tide's first 25-point lead came with 3:56 remaining when Marcus Jones' jumper made it 63-38.
No. 8 Indiana 73, Santa Clara 69--After the Broncos pulled to within 51-46 with 11:50 left in the semifinals of the Maui tournament at Lahaina, Calbert Cheaney scored seven consecutive points in the next 1:52 to give the Hoosiers a 58-46 lead and they held on to win.
Santa Clara had a chance in the final minutes, but Damon Bailey twice passed to Eric Anderson for layups as the 45-second shot clock wound down. After a rebound basket by LaCoby Phillips' with 15 seconds left made it 71-67, Cheaney made a dunk shot with eight seconds to play.
No. 16 Georgia Tech 100, Augusta 63--Jon Barry made three three-point shots to key a 28-0 run that enabled the Yellow Jackets to erase a 12-point deficit at Atlanta.
Augusta led, 35-23, with 6:57 left in the first half when Barry made the first of his three-point baskets, starting the run that put the Yellow Jackets ahead, 44-35, at the half. Tech scored the first seven points of the second half and continued to build its lead.
Kenny Anderson scored 24 points and had 11 assists for the Yellow Jackets.
No. 17 Connecticut 68, College of Charleston 52--John Gwynn and Chris Smith each made a three-point basket during a 15-6 run with 6:02 left that enabled the Huskies to pull away at Storrs, Conn. Smith led all scorers with 27 points.
No. 21 Georgia 90, Richmond 45--The Bulldogs used runs of 17-0 and 12-0 to easily win the Richmond, Va., tournament title.
Georgia set a tournament record for points in a game and winning margin. The 45-point defeat was the worst for the Spiders under 10-year coach Dick Tarrant.
Litterial Green led the Bulldogs with 27 points, including 20 in the first half.
No. 25 St. John's 135, Central Connecticut 92--Malik Sealy set a record with 43 points and helped the Redmen extend their unbeaten record in the title game of the Joe Lapchick tournament at New York. The victory gave St. John's the title for the 16th consecutive year and improved its tournament record to 32-0.
Sealy, a 6-8 forward, made 19 of 23 shots as he broke the Alumni Hall single-game scoring record and the tournament mark. Ernie DiGregorio scored 41 points for Providence in 1973 for the Alumni Hall record and Glenn Williams of St. John's set the tournament single-game record of 37 in 1976.
Willie Banks, a reserve guard, scored 26 points to lead New Mexico to a 94-77 victory over USF in the championship game of the Lobo tournament at Albuquerque, N.M. Banks, 7-foot-2 Luc Longley and Rob Robbins led a 15-2 run in the second half that gave the Lobos a 70-55 lead with 8:40 left. . . Jay Bizyak, William Kinsel and Jerome Culmer made seven free throws in the final 1 1/2 minutes, enabling Rider to beat St. Mary's, 86-82, in the third-place game of the Stanford tournament.
Kent Murphree scored all his 27 points on a school-record nine three-point baskets and Toledo held on for a 108-100 victory over Chaminade in the consolation round of the Maui tournament. . . Steve Rogers scored 40 points to lead Alabama State to a 77-67 victory over Samford in the consolation game of the Alabama Birmingham tournament.
Bucknell held Northern Iowa to five points in the final four minutes on the way to a 71-57 victory in the consolation semifinals of the San Juan Shootout at Puerto Rico. Bill Courtney led Bucknell with 25 points. . . Ray Reed scored 28 points to lead Hawaii to a 94-86 victory over Southwestern Louisiana Friday night in the first round of the Hawaii Tip-Off tournament.
REGIONAL GLANCES EAST
Terry Dehere scored nine points during a 22-6 run in the first half that carried Seton Hall to a 79-69 victory over Iona at South Orange, N.J. The Pirates opened the second half with a 22-11 run and took their biggest lead at 59-38. . . Maryland Eastern Shore overcame a 41-34 halftime deficit to beat St. Francis (N.Y.), 81-75, giving Robert Hopkins a win in his first game as coach of the Hawks. SOUTH
Gary Alexander and Marvin Taylor each scored 22 points as South Florida spoiled the debut of Lon Kruger as Florida coach by beating the Gators, 70-61, at Tampa. The win snapped the Bulls' eight-game losing streak to Florida. Livingston Chatman, who left Florida's team after 10 games last season, citing mental and physical burnout, scored 20 points and had 10 rebounds.
Clemson extended its school-record home-court winning streak to 25 games by beating Maryland-Baltimore County, 90-73, in the season opener for both schools. Dale Davis scored 23 points on 11 of 13 shooting to lead the Tigers. MIDWEST
Eddie Sutton returned to coaching in a big way as his Oklahoma State Cowboys set a record with a 111-47 victory over Colgate at Stillwater, Okla. The 64-point margin was the largest in school history, surpassing the record of 61 set in an 89-25 victory over Phillips on Jan. 22, 1945. . . Mark Brisker made his fifth three-point basket at the final buzzer to give Stetson a 58-56 victory over Purdue at Lafayette, Ind.
DePaul opened its season with an 84-73 victory over Hartford at Rosemont, Ill. The Blue Demons led, 67-54, with 6:40 to play before the Hawks moved to within 73-68 with 1:30 left. But six free throws by Brad Niemann helped clinch the win as DePaul outscored Hartford, 11-5, down the stretch. SOUTHWEST
Byron Smith led Houston with 29 points as the Cougars defeated California, 98-81, at Houston in the season opener for both teams. Roy Fisher led the Golden Bears with 25 points followed by Brian Hendrick's 20 points and 17 rebounds. ROCKIES
Shawn Bradley, a 7-foot-6 freshman center, scored 21 points and had 10 rebounds to lead Brigham Young to a 98-94 victory over Utah State at Provo, Utah. Bradley, Scott Moon and Kenneth Roberts each scored four points as the Cougars used an 18-5 run early in the second half to take control of the game. Jay Goodman led Utah State with 33 points. He made nine of 15 three-point shots.
Maurice Alexander's layup with 12 seconds left in overtime gave Wyoming a three-point lead and Quein Higgins added two free throws to give the Cowboys a 96-91 victory over Marshall at Laramie, Wy. Alexander's two free throws gave the Cowboys an 87-84 lead with seven seconds left in regulation, but Brett Vincent made a three-point basket at the buzzer to send the game into overtime. WEST
Dion Brown scored a career-high 37 points to lead Washington to a 115-80 victory over Portland at Seattle. The Huskies' 115 points was the second highest in school history. Washington scored 117 points in a win against Grambling in 1974. . . Guard Jay Peters made a three-point basket at the buzzer to give Wisconsin a 72-70 victory over Oregon in overtime at Eugene, Ore. Peters' shot followed a three-point basket by Oregon freshman forward Jordy Lyden that gave the Ducks a 70-69 lead with eight seconds to play.
Isaac Austin scored 24 points and made a key basket late in the game as Arizona State defeated Southern Methodist, 89-79, at Tempe, Ariz. SMU closed to within 77-73 with 2:26 left on a three-point play by Mike Wilson. But Dwayne Fontana made a layup with 2:15 left, Austin had a dunk with 1:38 to play and Lynn Collins added a three-point play for an 84-73 lead with 1:17 left.
Kansas, which lost its season-opener to Arizona State, 70-68, Friday night, made 11 three-point baskets in easily defeating Northern Arizona, 84-57, at Flagstaff, Ariz. . . Center Daren Engellant scored 21 points and had 12 rebounds as Montana beat Pacific, 76-67, at Missoula, Mont.