Chapel Hill Is Perfect Setting for Duke
It couldn’t have been more perfect for No. 1-ranked Duke.
Duke beat No. 14 North Carolina, 81-61, on Saturday night at Chapel Hill, N.C., to set a school record with its 24th consecutive victory and make Atlantic Coast Conference history by becoming the first team to go 16-0.
That the Blue Devils, 29-1 overall, established the records against their bitter state rival and beat the Tar Heels (22-8, 10-6) on their home court for the first time since 1991 made it all the better. It was also Duke’s most-lopsided victory at Chapel Hill since Feb. 29, 1964, when it won, 104-69.
“It hasn’t been a goal,” Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski said of the 16-0 record that followed last season’s 15-1. “There is no banner for going 16-0, but it is a heck of an honor. It shows we came ready to play 16 times and beat good teams.”
Seven teams had perfect records in the ACC before it expanded to nine teams in 1991-92, the last being North Carolina in 1987.
William Avery scored 24 points and Elton Brand had 17 points and 13 rebounds to lead Duke, which came into the game leading the nation in points per game (93.7) and scoring margin (25.7). The Blue Devils had a 52-36 rebounding advantage even without starting forward Shane Battier, who was sidelined because of an ankle injury.
“I’ve never seen . . . such an odds-on favorite to win the national championship,” said North Carolina Coach Bill Guthridge, a longtime assistant to Dean Smith before taking over last season. “They’re head and shoulders above everyone else.”
No. 2 Auburn 76, Mississippi State 73--Scott Pohlman scored 17 points, including a driving layup from along the baseline with less than a minute left at Starkville, Miss., to allow the Tigers (26-2, 14-2 in the Southeastern Conference) to hold off the Bulldogs (18-11, 8-8) and complete their winningest regular season.
No. 5 Maryland 84, Florida State 75--Laron Profit made 13 of 17 shots and scored a career-high 32 points for the Terrapins (25-4, 13-3 in the ACC) at Tallahassee, Fla.
Florida State (12-16, 5-11) lost its final nine ACC games.
Villanova 66, No. 8 St. John’s 60--John Celestrand scored 18 points, including 12 in a row in the first half to give the Wildcats (20-9, 10-8 in the Big East) command of the game at Philadelphia and two free throws with 23 seconds left to seal the victory.
St. John’s (23-7, 14-4), bothered by Villanova’s 2-3 zone, shot a season-low 32% in ending its winning streak at six games.
No. 9 Cincinnati 89, Memphis 64--Pete Mickeal scored 22 points and the Bearcats (25-4, 12-5) won their fourth consecutive Conference USA regular-season championship at Memphis, Tenn.
Memphis (13-14, 6-10) shot 36%, marking the 19th time a Cincinnati opponent has made less than 40% of its attempts.
Penn State 98, No. 10 Ohio State 85--Joe Crispin scored the first eight points of overtime at State College, Pa., as the Nittany Lions (13-13, 5-11) won for the first time in seven home games.
Crispin, a 95% free-throw shooter, had missed the front end of a one-and-one with 23 seconds left in regulation, allowing Ohio State (22-7, 12-4) to tie the score, 74-74, on Neshaun Coleman’s three-point basket.
Michael Redd scored 26 points for Ohio State, whose winning streak ended at seven games.
No. 11 Miami 68, Rutgers 63--Tim James, whose number was retired before his final home game at Miami, blocked two shots in the final 15 seconds to preserve the eighth victory in a row for the Hurricanes (21-5, 15-3 in the Big East).
Rutgers (17-11, 9-9) is winless in seven games against teams likely to play in the NCAA tournament.
No. 12 Utah 77, No. 21 New Mexico 47--The Utes (24-4, 14-0 in the Western Athletic Conference) scored the first 14 points in the game at Salt Lake City in winning for a school-record 19th time in a row and stretching their home-court streak to 35.
Utah won its fifth consecutive WAC regular-season championship and became the second team in conference history to go undefeated. The other team was Nevada Las Vegas in 1991.
New Mexico (22-7, 9-5) trailed 38-16 at halftime and was never closer than 22 points of Utah in the second half.
Michigan 51, No. 16 Wisconsin 39--The Badgers (21-9, 9-7 in the Big Ten) missed 14 of their first 17 shots at Madison, Wis., in losing to the Wolverines (11-18, 5-11) for the second time this season.
No player scored in double figures for Wisconsin, which lost for the fifth time in seven games.
Michigan’s Louis Bullock banked in a three-point shot late in the first half to become the Big Ten’s all-time leader with 333.
No. 17 College of Charleston 80, Western Carolina 49--The Cougars (27-2) extended their winning streak to 24 and reached today’s championship game of the Southern Conference tournament at Greensboro, N.C. Western Carolina (8-21) tied a school record for losses in a season.
Charleston will play Appalachian State (21-7), which reached the conference final for the second consecutive year with a 94-91 double-overtime victory over Chattanooga (16-12).
No. 20 Indiana 88, No. 18 Iowa 81--Rob Turner scored 20 points and the Hoosiers (22-9, 9-7) rallied from a 14-point first-half deficit at Bloomington, Ind., to defeat the Hawkeyes (18-8, 9-7) for the first time in six games.
Indiana Coach Bob Knight awarded a game ball to Turner, a senior making only his fourth start in last seven weeks. It was the first time in 28 seasons Knight awarded a game ball in the annual season-ending ceremony honoring senior players.
Vanderbilt 71, No. 19 Florida 70--Dan Langhi scored eight of his 20 points on three consecutive possessions in overtime as the Commodores (14-14, 5-11 in the SEC) defeated the Gators (19-7, 10-6) in departing coach Jan Van Breda Kolff’s final home game at Nashville.
Van Breda Kolff, a standout player for the Commodores in the 1970s, resigned Thursday. He has a 104-80 record in six seasons.
Missouri 54, No. 22 Texas 47--Albert White scored 23 points to lead the Tigers (20-7, 11-5) at Austin, Texas.
Texas (18-11, 13-3) had already won the regular-season Big 12 championship. The Longhorns, who came into the game having shot 100 more free throws than any other Big 12 team, attempted only nine, making three.
Big South--Winthrop (21-7) earned its first NCAA tournament berth with an 86-74 victory over Radford (20-8) in the final of the conference tournament at Asheville, N.C. Winthrop was 7-20 last season and its 14-victory turnaround under first-year coach Gregg Marshall is the second-best in Division I to Ohio State’s 15. Winthrop, a school with an enrollment of 5,400 located in Rock Hill, S.C., had not had a winning season since 1989-90 or won a conference tournament game since 1993.
Colonial Athletic Assn.--George Mason (18-10) and Old Dominion (24-7) play today in the championship game at Richmond, Va. George Mason was a 58-56 winner North Carolina Wilmington (11-17) and Old Dominion posted a 66-49 victory over Virginia Commonwealth (15-16).
Ohio Valley--Murray State (26-5) advanced to the championship game for the 10th consecutive year with a 91-69 victory over Morehead State (13-15). Southeast Missouri State (20-8), an 82-74 winner over Middle Tennessee State (12-19), plays Murray State today at Nashville.
Patriot League--Lehigh (6-21), which was winless in league play and brought an 18-game losing streak into the tournament, was a 53-45 winner over Navy (20-7) in a first-round game at West Point, N.Y. Lehigh plays today against Bucknell (15-12), a 76-52 winner over Holy Cross (7-20).
Trans America Athletic--Samford (24-5) made 11 three-point shots in getting its first NCAA tournament berth with an 89-61 victory over Central Florida (19-10) in the final of the conference tournament at Jacksonville, Fla. Samford, a Baptist school in Birmingham, Ala., with an enrollment of 4,500, averages 9.5 three-point baskets to lead Division I.
Princeton’s Brian Earl made his 274th three-point shot to pass Pennsylvania’s Matt Maloney, now with the Houston Rockets, as the the Ivy League’s all-time leader in the Tigers’ 88-52 home-court victory over Columbia (10-16, 5-9). Princeton (20-6, 11-2) must defeat Pennsylvania (20-5, 12-1) at home Tuesday to force a playoff for the Ivy championship and automatic NCAA berth Friday at Lehigh. . . . Shawnta Rogers made a three-point shot at the buzzer to give George Washington (19-7, 13-3) a 77-74 home-court victory over Xavier of Ohio (20-9, 12-4) and the Atlantic 10 West Division championship. . . . Quincy Lewis, the Big Ten’s leading scorer, had 31 points for Minnesota (17-9, 8-8) in a 58-51 victory over Northwestern (14-12, 6-10) at Evanston, Ill. Minnesota played an NBA-style schedule with games in three different arenas, three states and two time zones in five days. Northwestern’s Evan Eschmeyer had 27 points, making 17 of 21 free throws. . . . Neil Reed made a three-point shot with a second remaining to give Southern Mississippi (14-15, 6-10 in Conference USA) a 59-58 victory over Louisville (17-9, 11-5) at Hattiesburg, Miss. The Cardinals’ Alex Sanders missed two free throws with eight seconds left. . . . Arkansas (20-9, 9-7 in the SEC), which had defeated No. 13 Kentucky and No. 2 Auburn in its previous two games, was an 84-79 loser to Alabama (16-13, 6-10) at Tuscaloosa, Ala. . . . Weber State (22-7, 13-3) won the Big Sky Conference’s regular-season championship with a 77-57 victory over Northern Arizona (20-7, 12-4) at Ogden, Utah.
Schools that have received automatic bids to the NCAA basketball tournament. All bids are by virtue of conference tournament championships with the exception of Pacific 10 Conference, which does not conduct postseason tournament:
* Samford, Trans America Athletic Conference
* Winthrop, Big South Conference
* Stanford, Pacific 10