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COLLEGE BASKETBALL / NCAA TOURNAMENT | WEST ROUNDUP

Oklahoma Sees That Time Is on Stanford's Side, 80-67

March 15, 1997|JASON REID | TIMES STAFF WRITER

TUCSON, Ariz. — The surroundings were familiar but the opponent wasn't, so Stanford needed some time to check things out.

The McKale Center is an arena Stanford knows all too well from playing Pacific 10 Conference rival Arizona here more than it probably cares to. But Stanford didn't put a time limit on trying to figure out Oklahoma, its first-round opponent in the NCAA West Regional Friday night.

As it turned out, the Cardinal had time to spare.

One half was all it took, as Stanford had all the answers in the second half of its 80-67 victory over Oklahoma (19-11) before 13,325.

"The game was really as we expected it to be," Cardinal Coach Mike Montgomery said. "We thought it was going to take awhile for us to get a feel for the game, to get a feel for what Oklahoma wanted to do.

"Once we got that, I really thought we played great in the second half."

Once again, Brevin Knight was the player making all the right moves for Stanford (21-7). The standout point guard had 18 points and 10 assists, and didn't commit any turnovers in 38 minutes.

Knight felt especially comfortable after halftime, and the scoreboard reflected that. The score was tied, 33-33, at halftime as Stanford got the lay of the land.

But with Knight racing past defenders, Stanford took control midway through the second half. Knight kept putting the ball in the hands of center Tim Young and swingman Kris Weems, and they did the rest. Weems had a team-high 20 points and Young contributed 16 points and eight rebounds.

"I was more assertive in the second half because I finally figured out how they were trying to react to me," Knight said. "I've seen so many different defenses that sometimes it takes me a little time to get a feel for them."

Oklahoma Coach Kelvin Sampson has seen this before.

"You always have to deal with the question of how to stop Brevin, who may be the best in the country at what he does," Sampson said. "I thought we did a pretty good job in the first half, but I don't think you can ever really stop him."

As for Sunday's game against Wake Forest, Sampson likes Stanford's chances.

"They are very well coached and they have [Knight]," Sampson said. "I think [Stanford] is the type of team that can advance."

Wake Forest 68, St. Mary's 46--Forget the game, which turned out as expected. The real story was the battle between Tim Duncan and Brad Millard.

Duncan, Wake Forest's All-American center, had 22 points, 22 rebounds and five blocked shots. But Duncan said St. Mary's 7-foot-3, 345-pound center Brad Millard made him work like never before.

"This was sort of different for me because of how big he is," said Duncan, who is 6-10 and 250 pounds. "He's a really strong kid. It took a lot out of me to move him around."

Millard had 16 points and six rebounds for St. Mary's (23-8). He was equally impressed with his Wake Forest counterpart.

"This was a good thing for me overall," Millard said. "Playing someone who is probably going to be the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft showed me how much I need to improve."

Guard Tony Rutland added 15 points for Wake Forest (24-6).

Utah 75, Navy 61--Too much talent and height sank the Midshipmen. Utah center Michael Doleac scored a game-high 19 points, and All-American forward Keith Van Horn had 16 points and 11 rebounds while becoming the Western Athletic Conference's all-time leading scorer. Utah took control midway through the first half and led by as many as 21 points.

"I really admire how Navy played," Utah Coach Rick Majerus said. "I have a lot of respect for the service academy kids. Those are exactly the type of guys you want to represent your country."

Navy (20-9) couldn't contend with the 6-11 Doleac and 6-10 Van Horn, who dominated the game near the basket. Power forward Hassan Booker is Navy's best post defender, but he's only 6-3 and that wasn't lost on Utah (27-3). Booker, one of five Navy players from Los Angeles, led his team with 15 points.

North Carolina Charlotte 79, Georgetown 67--The Hoyas shot only 27.6% from the field in the first half as the 49ers easily earned their first tournament victory in 20 years. Guard Sean Colson scored 24 points and forward Shaw Versile responded to a rare start with 19 points to help end a string of three consecutive opening-round losses.

"We wanted to get that monkey off of our backs," first-year 49er Coach Melvin Watkins said. "We tried to put all that stuff behind us and stay focused on this game and this tournament."

The 49ers (22-8) last won a tournament game in 1977, when they reached the Final Four. Watkins was a senior co-captain on that team.

Guard Victor Page led Georgetown with 20 points but missed 16 of 23 shots. Georgetown (20-10) lost in the opening round for only the second time in 20 appearances under Coach John Thompson.

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