Monroe steals point spotlight with career-high 48 of his own

January 14, 1991|By Richard Walker | Richard Walker,Knight-Ridder

RALEIGH, N.C. -- It was expected to be a showcase for two of the Atlantic Coast Conference's premier point guards.

It became a Rodney Monroe highlight film.

Georgia Tech point guard Kenny Anderson got the better end of his personal battle with North Carolina State point guard Chris Corchiani yesterday.

But Corchiani's Wolfpack came away with the 90-83 victory. Why?

Because Corchiani had the good sense to get Monroe the ball. A lot.

A native of Hagerstown, Monroe hit jumpers, leaners, fadeaways and layups and even a dunk in a career-best 48-point performance that brought the Wolfpack (2-0, 8-3) from a 15-point deficit and buried No. 24 Georgia Tech (1-2, 9-5).

"I've seen Rodney get hot before," Corchiani said. "I've seen him get it going in practice, pickup games and real games. But I've never seen him like that . . . I don't think [Detroit Pistons defensive ace] Dennis Rodman could have stopped him today."

Georgia Tech certainly couldn't.

It wasn't because coach Bobby Cremins didn't try. Four players guarded Monroe: Bryan Hill, Ivano Newbill, Jon Barry and Anderson.

None succeeded.

"Monroe played one of the greatest games an opponent has ever played against one of my teams," Cremins said. "He was just fabulous."

For the record, Monroe hit 17 of 37 shots from the field, including six of 13 three-pointers and eight of nine free throws.

It was the most points for an N.C. State player in an ACC game and nine points short of the single-game mark of former All-American David Thompson, who was in attendance. And it was two points shy of the ACC record of 50 points in a league game, by North Carolina's Len Chappell against Virginia in 1962.

Monroe's performance lifted him to 2,035 career points and moved him closer to Thompson, N.C. State's all-time scorer, who had 2,309 points in three seasons (1972-75).

What did Monroe think of his game?

"To be honest with you, I didn't realize I had 48 points," said Monroe, who is averaging an ACC-leading 29.1 per game. "I'm much more happy to be 2-0 in the ACC than to have 48 points."

Early yesterday, it didn't look as if Monroe, a 6-foot-3 senior, or the Wolfpack would be checking the records for anything other than losses.

Behind center Malcolm Mackey, the Yellow Jackets built a 50-38 halftime lead and were ahead 55-40 with 18:24 left.

Then, Monroe got hot.

He hit three straight to close the margin to 57-48. After missing two, Monroe hit seven of his next eight to tie the score.

The tying shot was typical of what he did all day.

He took a Corchiani pass on the left wing and looked for the shot before passing in to forward Bryant Feggins. Feggins turned, realized he didn't have a shot, either, and passed back out to Monroe.

From there, Monroe cocked and fired with Barry in his face.

Swish.

"Rodney Monroe was going crazy," N.C. State coach Les Robinson said. "His performance today was one of the all-time best games ever in the ACC."

All this after going 4-for-16 in the first half. Monroe said nothing was different in the second half. But Corchiani knew.

"You could see this look in his eye," Corchiani said. "He didn't have to say anything. You just got him the ball."

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