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COLLEGE BASKETBALL / NCAA TOURNAMENT

Duke Goes Right Into the Friars' Pan

March 17, 1997|GEORGE DOHRMANN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The last time Pete Gillen coached a team to the round of 16, he used an emotional speech at halftime to lift Xavier past favored Georgetown in 1990, calling on the words of Confederate Gen. Stonewall Jackson to motivate his players.

So, with his 10th-seeded Providence team trailing second-seeded Duke by four points Sunday at halftime at the Charlotte Coliseum, and the prospects of advancing past the second round in the Southeast region wavering, Gillen again turned to Jackson.

"I think I did mention Stonewall," Gillen said after his Friars upset Duke, 98-87. "[I also] made up some Edgar Allan Poe quotes, some Walt Whitman. . . . [The players] were nodding their heads, so I thought they believed me."

Derrick Brown must have. The former Los Angeles City College standout scored 33 points, and Austin Croshere--who played at Santa Monica Crossroads High--added 21 points and 10 rebounds, despite foul trouble, pushing Providence on to the Southeast's regional semifinal.

"The biggest challenge for us was to get [the players] to believe we could beat them," Gillen said. "Duke is Duke. They're on TV more than 'Leave It To Beaver' reruns.

"To achieve something you've got to believe you can do it. And [in the second half] our guys sensed something and believed we had a chance. It was like a dream."

If Gillen is the Friars' general, then his best soldier was Brown.

"I can't even think of adjectives to describe Brown's play," Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "We didn't overlook him. He was a point of emphasis. We really tried to stop him. But today he was great."

He was a main reason Providence (23-11) out-rebounded Duke, 43-24, and advanced to the round of 16 for the first time since 1987. That was the year Rick Pitino coached an undersized team that featured Billy Donovan to the Final Four.

"[Brown is] a 'garbage man' and that's a compliment because he does it well," said Duke guard Jeff Capel, who, in his final game, scored a team-high 26 points. "Croshere may get all the accolades, but Brown is a great player."

Croshere picked up his fourth foul with 16:14 remaining and Duke (24-9) ahead, 53-50. He left the game, but in his absence the Friars went on a 9-2 run that included a three-point basket and a put-back by Brown. When the Blue Devils pulled to within one point, 61-60, with just under 12 minutes remaining, Gillen sent Croshere back in the game.

"I'm a gambler," Gillen said. "I didn't think we could win with Austin on the bench."

Croshere scored nine points the rest of the way and was helped when Duke center Roshown McLeon fouled out with over nine minutes left. Croshere's scoring included a 15-foot running jump shot with 5:33 left after Duke had tied the score, 74-74. Then Brown put the game away by scoring eight points in the final 4:18.

"I just tried to come out aggressively and make things happen," said Brown, who is 6 feet 6. "It could have been my last game, but now who knows where we'll go?"

Brown was part of a small lineup Gillen used in the second half to confuse the Blue Devils, who feature mostly a three-guard look.

"When they went with the smaller lineup, they matched up with us well," said Blue Devil guard Steve Wojciechowski, who had only one assist while his Friar counterpart God Shammgod had nine assists and 12 points. "It was like seeing ourselves on the other side of the ball."

Said Gillen: "Our guys have come so far. I didn't think they'd be denied. A lot of our players were crying in the locker room after the game."

Tennessee Chattanooga 75, Illinois 63--The Moccasins' surprise run continued when four players scored in double figures and Chattanooga outscored the Fighting Illini, 20-4, in the final 7:25 after Illinois took a four-point lead.

Tennessee Chattanooga, making its first trip to the round of 16, was motivated by "disrespect" from the Illinois players, who according to senior Johnny Taylor, were singing and chanting "Final Four" before the game after finding out Duke had lost.

"We wanted to send them and the world a message," Taylor said. "They were whooping it up in the locker room after Providence won. They thought they were going up against nobody."

Illinois guard Kiwane Garris, who scored 19 points, said the Illini were only trying to pump themselves up. But they could do very little during it when forward Chris Gandy, in foul trouble, did not score in the second half and didn't have a rebound. The Moccasins controlled rebounding, 39-21, and shot 51%.

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