As the North Carolina pep band held up placards with 700 written on them and the crowd in the arena named for him roared its approval as the clock ticked away, Dean Smith still was coaching North Carolina reserves in a 105-73 victory over Maryland Wednesday night at Chapel Hill, N.C.
That’s not so unusual for Smith, but this was no ordinary game. The victory was his 700th as a college coach, but it seemed sweeter to the fans than to Smith.
“I just think we shouldn’t get into counting coaches’ records. I’ve never been for that . . . but I know that’s just American society,” Smith said after Hubert Davis scored a career-high 25 points to lead the No. 5 Tar Heels.
The victory got Smith, in his 30th season, to the milestone in the fewest years of any coach. Kentucky’s Adolph Rupp, the all-time leader with 875 victories, reached 700 in his 33rd season. But it took Rupp 68 fewer games to reach 700.
Smith, 59, became the sixth Division I coach to reach 700 victories.
The Tar Heels, by winning their Atlantic Coast Conference opener, improved to 12-1 overall. Maryland, which shot 24.3% in the first half, fell to 7-5 and 1-2.
Walt Williams, Maryland’s leading scorer at 21.4 points per game, was held to 16 points after making only two of 11 shots in the first half. Matt Roe led the Terrapins with 23 points.
Seton Hall 74, No. 10 St. John’s 62--The Pirates, with Gordon Winchester playing impressive defense against fellow Bronx, N.Y., native Malik Sealy, beat the Redmen in a Big East game at East Rutherford, N.J.
Sealy entered the game averaging 24.6 points and was shooting 58% from the field. Against the 6-foot-7 Winchester, he had a season-low 11 points on three-for-13 shooting.
“Malik and I go back a long way. We’ve known each other for a long time,” said the 6-foot-7, 210-pound Winchester, who is an inch shorter and 25 pounds lighter than Sealy. “I felt if I could stop Malik it would help us win.”
Winchester wasn’t the only Pirate who played solid defense for Seton Hall (10-2, 3-1), which entered the game holding opponents to 39% shooting. St. John’s (10-2, 1-2) made only 22 of 66 shots.
Terry Dehere scored 21 points for Seton Hall, and Anthony Avent had 18 points and 14 rebounds.
No. 11 Kentucky 89, Mississippi State 70--The Wildcats forced 31 turnovers in turning back the Bulldogs in a Southeastern Conference games at Lexington, Ky. Kentucky also had 23 steals.
Kentucky Coach Rick Pitino was delighted. “This is the hardest I’ve ever had a team play defensively,” he said.
Kentucky (11-2, 3-0) got a 24-point, eight-rebound effort from forward Jamal Mashburn in winning its sixth consecutive game.
Mississippi State (9-3, 2-1) sliced a 41-33 halftime deficit to 43-37 but got no closer.
Mississippi State, seeking its first victory at Kentucky in 24 years, was led by Cameron Burns with 21 points.
The Bulldogs averaged only 13.8 turnovers coming into the game.
No. 14 Duke 98, No. 24 Georgia Tech 57--Billy McCaffrey had a career-high 29 points as the Blue Devils defeated the Yellow Jackets in an ACC game at Durham, N.C.
The Georgia Tech defense was tops in the ACC, allowing only 40.8% shooting coming into the game. But the Blue Devils (11-3, 1-1) hit 58% of their shots. Georgia Tech (9-4, 1-1) shot only 36%.
Kenny Anderson led the Yellow Jackets with 25 points--four below his league-leading average.
It was the most lopsided ACC loss for Georgia Tech since a 98-44 setback to North Carolina State in 1974.
No. 18 Nebraska 97, Missouri Kansas City 78--The Cornhuskers won their 13th consecutive game but weren’t able to shake the Kangaroos until late in the game at Kansas City.
Carl Hayes led Nebraska (15-1) with 18 points. Missouri Kansas City freshman Tony Dumas scored 22 points and Ronnie Schmitz added 20 for the Kangaroos (7-8).
Shaun Vandiver scored 28 points and Colorado (10-3) converted 27 of 30 free throws in an 89-72 victory over Wake Forest (6-4) in a nonconference game at Winston-Salem, N.C. . . . Ronnie Battle, who scored 24 points, had four in the final minute as Auburn beat Mississippi, 62-60, in an SEC game at Oxford, Miss. The Tigers improved to 8-4 overall and 1-2 in the SEC, and the Rebels fell to 6-6 and 0-3. . . . James Robinson scored a career-high 21 points to lead Alabama (8-4, 2-1) to a 72-64 SEC victory over Florida (6-6, 2-1) at Tuscaloosa, Ala. . . . Texas Christian (10-2, 2-0) got 22 points from Michael Strickland to beat Texas A&M; (4-10, 4-9), 80-72, in a Southwest Conference game at College Station, Tex. . . . Derrick Daniels scored a career-high 33 points as Houston (10-3, 2-1) won its 16th consecutive home game with a 80-73 SWC victory over Rice (5-7, 1-2) at Houston. . . . Mike Wilson’s layup with 23 seconds remaining in overtime gave Southern Methodist (5-8) an 88-86 victory over Texas San Antonio (8-4) at Dallas.