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COLLEGE BASKETBALL / NATIONAL ROUNDUP : Stakes Don't Matter: North Carolina Beats Duke, 87-77

March 06, 1994|From Associated Press

Duke had already wrapped up the Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season title, and North Carolina was second. If form holds, they will play for the league tournament championship in a week. Neither will be seeded worse than second in the NCAA tournament.

But there still was the rivalry to think of.

No. 5 North Carolina broke the game open with a 15-5 run in the waning moments of an 87-77 victory over the No. 2 Blue Devils at Durham, N.C.

"It's the best we've played all year," said Dean Smith, coach of North Carolina (24-6, 11-5). "I thought it was just a tremendously well-played game."

Said Coach Mike Krzyzewski of Duke (22-4, 12-4): "It was a terrific basketball game, absolutely a terrific game.

"They wore us out, and that was apparent over the last 10 minutes of the game. We just couldn't stop them."

The Blue Devils had only 10 points over the last six minutes, and four of those came in the final 40 seconds.

North Carolina's Donald Williams finished with 20 points, most coming on drives. He was one for three on three-pointers, but the one he made turned the game around.

A dunk by Eric Meek brought Duke within 68-66 with 6:45 to play. Rasheed Wallace came back with a dunk at the other end, and then Williams made the three-pointer with 6:12 left and North Carolina led the rest of the way.

Wallace had 14 points for North Carolina.

Cherokee Parks scored 23 points to lead Duke, which had won five in a row.

No. 1 Arkansas 80, Mississippi State 62--Corliss Williamson made five of six free throws in the final minutes and added two field goals as the Razorbacks held off the Bulldogs (17-9, 9-7) in a Southeastern Conference game at Fayetteville, Ark.

Arkansas (24-2, 14-2) clinched its second Southeastern Conference championship in three years.

No. 4 Connecticut 95, St. John's 80--The Huskies got 29 points from Donyell Marshall, who now has 461 this season, a Big East record, and Connecticut set a school record with 26 victories in beating St. John's at Hartford.

Connecticut (26-3, 16-2) became the winningest team in league history, finished 15-0 at home and sent St. John's (11-16, 5-13) to its worst record in school history.

Unless St. John's wins the Big East tournament, it will be the first time the Redmen haven't played in the postseason since 1965.

No. 6 Missouri 80, Nebraska 78--The Tigers got their unbeaten Big Eight season the hard way, needing Melvin Booker's three-point play with 12.5 seconds left at Columbia, Mo.

Missouri (24-2, 14-0) became the first school in 23 years to beat each Big Eight team twice.

Nebraska (17-9, 7-7) got 26 points from Eric Piatkowski.

No. 17 Florida 82, Tennessee 71--Dan Cross scored 14 points during a five-minute stretch of the second half as the Gators (23-6, 12-4) won at Gainesville, Fla., to tie Kentucky for first place in the Southeastern Conference Eastern Division.

Kevin Whitten led Tennessee (5-21, 2-14).

No. 18 Minnesota 107, Iowa 96--Townsend Orr scored six of his 12 points in the third overtime and Voshon Lenard had a career-high 38 points in the Big Ten game as the Gophers (20-10, 10-7) won at home to have consecutive 20-victory seasons for the first time ever. Russ Millard scored 22 points and Jess Settles 21 for the Hawkeyes (10-15, 4-12).

No. 21 Oklahoma State 83, Colorado 68--Three-pointers by Randy Rutherford and Brooks Thompson started a late surge at Stillwater, Okla., where the Cowboys (21-8, 10-4) overcame a career-high 46 points by Donnie Boyce of Colorado (10-16, 2-12) in a Big Eight game.

No. 24 Alabama Birmingham 85, No. 16 St. Louis 70--Reginald Allen had 18 points in the first half en route to a 27-point day for the Blazers (22-6, 8-4), who used a 30-10 run to beat St. Louis (22-4, 8-4) in a Great Midwest Conference game at Birmingham.

No. 22 Marquette 73, Wisconsin Milwaukee 51--Damon Key had 17 points and Roney Eford scored all 16 of his in the second half to lead the Warriors at Milwaukee in the renewal of the crosstown series after a 22-year break. Marquette (22-7) has won all 29 meetings with the Panthers (10-17) in the series that began in 1916-17.

Providence 77, No. 23 Boston College 69--Michael Brown scored 22 points in leading the Friars (16-9, 9-8) in a Big East upset of Boston College (20-9, 11-7) at Providence, R.I.

TOURNAMENTS

Central Florida (21-8) got 17 points from Victor Saxton and earned its first trip to the NCAA tournament with a 70-67 victory over Stetson (14-15) 70-67 in the championship game of the Trans America Athletic Conference tournament at Orlando.

Central Florida joins Tennessee State (19-11) in the NCAA field after the Tigers got 38 points from Carlos Rogers, including a dunk with 21 seconds to play in a 73-72 victory over Murray State (23-5) in the Ohio Valley Conference finals at Nashville, Tenn.

In semifinals:

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