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NCAA COLLEGE BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT

Another 'One' Bites the Dust

Top-seeded Stanford's best shot goes down with Jacobsen in a 60-53 loss to North Carolina.

March 20, 2000|ROBYN NORWOOD | TIMES STAFF WRITER

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — The mighty keep falling in the NCAA tournament.

Sunday afternoon, the mighty Casey struck out too.

Casey Jacobsen, Stanford's fabulous freshman, was teary-eyed and emotional after the No. 1-seeded Cardinal was toppled by suddenly resurgent North Carolina, 60-53, in the second round of the NCAA South Regional.

Jacobsen made only two of 12 shots--only one of eight from three-point range--and finished with five points.

He did what he was supposed to do: He kept shooting, even against a North Carolina defense that sent 6-foot-8 Jason Capel at Jacobsen and pushed him well beyond the three-point line, always with a long arm in his face.

"They're prepared. They know I shoot threes," Jacobsen said. "There's no excuse. I've shot with hands in my face my whole life. You know, it's just the way you feel sometimes.

"I've had other games like that this year. They aren't fun. Two of them, we lost. One it didn't matter, we won by 40."

Stanford lost this one, but it would play the same way.

"He's been a guy who made huge plays for us all season," senior Mark Madsen said. "If we were in overtime, as we speak, with North Carolina, I'd say, 'Casey, I want you to shoot the ball.' "

Stanford joined Arizona as the second top-seeded team to be upset, partly because of the performance by another freshman. North Carolina's Joseph Forte scored 17 points, making back-to-back three-point shots in the final five minutes--the first as the shot clock expired to give the Tar Heels a 50-47 lead and the second for a six-point lead with 3:31 to play.

With that, another basketball blueblood has been revived: Like UCLA, North Carolina was once ticketed for the National Invitation Tournament. Now they're both in the Sweet 16.

"It's a big win for us," North Carolina guard Ed Cota said. "Everybody is saying it's an upset. We feel it's an upset right now, but we knew we were capable of winning two games."

The second victory preserved a streak that once seemed destined to end. At 20-13, North Carolina has won at least 20 games for 30 consecutive seasons.

"After what this team has been through, to get to the Sweet 16 and beat a No. 1 seed . . . this certainly was a big win for us," North Carolina Coach Bill Guthridge said.

For Stanford, a streak began.

The Cardinal, ranked No. 1 for five weeks this season, went home after the second round for the second year in a row after losing to Gonzaga last season.

"It's hard to believe it's all over," Madsen said. "It's hard to believe, but it is. It is."

Stanford's 27-4 season ended with three losses in the final five games, and it ended here partly because the Cardinal met a team that matched up too well inside.

Jarron Collins had eight points, Madsen five and Jason Collins four as they banged with 7-foot Brendan Haywood, who had 12 points and blocked four shots.

"It was one of the most intense games I've ever played in," said Madsen, who had a fresh scratch on his arm after the game, as did Haywood. "Brendan Haywood battled the whole game. He can simply wear people down."

The game was going to have to be won outside, with Jacobsen and David Moseley both coming into the game having made 45% of their three-point shots.

Moseley started hot but went cold, making six of 18 attempts. Jacobsen just stayed cold and Stanford finished with 34.5% shooting and a season-low point total.

On Jacobsen's final three-point shot with eight seconds left, he was about 25 feet from the basket, which was pretty much how the day went.

"I really just tried to put pressure on him, no matter where he caught the ball," said Capel, who was matched with Jacobsen in man and zone. "I was going to be right up on him, because the kid will shoot from anywhere. He's very confident I mean, one shot can get him going. I was not going to let my mishap to be the downfall of this team."

The only three-point shot Jacobsen made came with 3:12 left in the first half, and it gave Stanford its biggest lead--eight points.

Then North Carolina came back, taking a 28-27 halftime lead after a couple of three-point baskets by Capel, a basket by Forte and a three-point play with six seconds left by Julius Peppers, a 6-7, 270-pound freshman reserve who was fouled by Jarron Collins.

There was one last twist to Jacobsen's long afternoon: It was his 19th birthday.

"Happy birthday," Capel said. "I hope he has a blessed day but I'm glad we got the win."

Older and wiser, Jacobsen said.

"There's a lot to be learned from this tournament and this season. Now I have a year under my belt and I'll really take the off-season and the summer and get myself ready to play, remembering this game."

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