Unbeaten North Carolina, ranked No. 1 in the nation, rolled into Jacksonville, Fla., a heavy favorite, but Coach Dean Smith wasn't thinking rout when the Tar Heels met unheralded Jacksonville Tuesday night.
"When we came here, I said we'd be happy with a one-point win and I guess we got more than that," Smith said after freshman Jeff Lebo hit a 15-foot jump shot with 1:57 to go and Kenny Smith sank two free throws down the stretch as North Carolina held on for a 69-65 victory.
"We can't play much better offensively than we did in the second half," Smith said. "We can't beat anyone, however, giving up as many follow-up shots as we did."
The smaller Dolphins, who had no starter taller than 6-7, battled North Carolina on the boards all night and refused to fold when the Tar Heels threatened to pull away.
"Defensively, we gave up 14 points on second shots in the second half. That's a record against us," Smith said. "I'm tired of hearing about our height advantage."
Jacksonville Coach Bob Wenzel said North Carolina (8-0) demonstrated why it is the top-ranked team in the country. The Tar Heels were pressured but didn't crack before a boisterous crowd of 10,117.
"A little mistake here or there and we would have beaten them," Wenzel said. "They did what they had to do."
Smith scored 18 points and teammates Steve Hale and Joe Wolf added 12 and 10, respectively.
Willie McDuffie scored 16 points and Danny Pearson had 14 for the Dolphins (4-2), who led, 37-36, at halftime and by as many as five points after intermission.
North Carolina, which had beaten its first seven opponents by an average of 28.9 points per game, never panicked. The Tar Heels regained command as Brad Daugherty scored nine points after being held scoreless in the opening half.
North Carolina took a 53-49 lead with 13:16 to go on Smith's 17-foot jumper and appeared ready to blow the game open. A steal and dunk by Jacksonville's Otis Smith got the Dolphins rolling again, and it was close the rest of the way.
Georgia Tech 96, Old Dominion 86--Freshman Tom Hammonds scored a season-high 22 points to pace No. 7 Georgia Tech to the win at Atlanta.
Georgia Tech (5-1) led, 47-43, at halftime and in the second half built the lead to 20 points.
Mark Price scored 20 points and Duane Furrell added 18 for the Yellow Jackets, who shot 67% from the field.
The Monarchs (3-2) got 22 points from Keith Thomas and 20 from Kenny Gattison.
Louisiana State 72, Texas 65--Ninth-ranked Louisiana State got off to a slower start than usual, but Nikita Wilson and James Williams came through in the second half as the Tigers won at Austin, Tex.
"This was our hardest victory," LSU Coach Dale Brown said after the Tigers came back from a 35-28 halftime deficit. "Texas is hard to play because they're fundamentally sound. You can't break them."
LSU (8-0) shot a dismal 29% from the field and was outrebounded, 23-15, in the first half.
Wilson scored 23 points and Williams had 15 points and 8 rebounds.
Patrick Fairs' 18 points and 9 rebounds led Texas (3-4).
Memphis St. 73, Mississippi 56--It was defense that brought 10th-ranked and undefeated Memphis State its victory at Memphis, Tenn., Tiger Coach Dana Kirk said.
"This was an interesting game in that it was a teaching game," Kirk said. "We were not shooting the ball well so we went with defense and won with defense."
The Tigers (8-0) were led by junior center William Bedford's 23 points and 12 rebounds.
Ole Miss (5-1) got 17 points from sophomore forward Bruce Tzanbarger and 15 from junior forward Eric Smith.
Alabama Birmingham 69, Cincinnati 53--Steve Mitchell scored 20 points to lead 14th-ranked Blazers to the win at Birmingham, Ala.
Michael Charles added 13 points, Jerome Ponder 12 and Mincy 10 for Alabama Birmingham (9-1).
Roger McClendon led the Bearcats (3-3) with 18 points.
Marquette 74, Minnesota 63--David Boone scored 21 points, Kerry Trotter scored 20 and center Tom Copa added 16 as the Warriors (4-2) beat the Gophers (8-2) at Milwaukee.
Minnesota's 7-foot senior center John Shasky was whistled for his third foul at 4:36 of the first half and sat on the bench for the rest of the period. He played most of the second period but, even at 231 pounds, was consistently out-muscled by Copa, 6-10 and 259 pounds.
Todd Alexander led Minnesota with 12 points.
SW Louisiana 66, Auburn 64--Cedric Hill's field goal sent the game into overtime and his 20-footer from the right corner with one second left in the extra period clinched Southwestern Louisiana's victory at Lafayette, La.
Hill, a 6-1 senior guard, hit on half of his 30 shots from the field for 30 points in helping the Ragin' Cajuns improve to 3-4.
Auburn fell to 4-4 despite a 31-point effort by Chuck Person, a 6-8 senior forward who also had 12 rebounds and two blocked shots. Person had 6 of Auburn's 8 points in overtime, the last of which was a slam dunk that tied the game at 64 with 1:14 left in the extra period.