Smith gets 2 T's, Carolina 1 L as Kansas wins, 79-73

March 31, 1991|By Milton Kent | Milton Kent,Evening Sun Staff

INDIANAPOLIS -- Right down to the end yesterday, Kansa did everything that the team it supposedly mirrors, North Carolina, normally does.

The Jayhawks set the proper screens, trapped defensively and even spread the court for the four corners as time was running down.

And as the Tar Heels seemingly always do, Kansas held on at the end and turned back the Tar Heels, 79-73, to advance to tomorrow's National Collegiate Athletic Association men's basketball championship game against Duke.

The Jayhawks (27-7) didn't do anything particularly well all evening, shooting 41 percent from the field, committing 18 turnovers and missing 15 of 36 foul shots, including eight of 18 in the last four minutes, when most games are decided.

But Kansas overcame turnovers and sloppy play and one of the more bizarre endings to a Final Four game that culminated in the ejection of coach Dean Smith of North Carolina (29-6), to win.

"My feeling is that this team has been ugly at times," said Kansas coach Roy Williams. "But they're also been as great a set of competitors that I've ever been around."

The game's end was marred by Smith's ejection, the third of his 30-year career, when he was assessed his second technical foul with 35 seconds left. It was the second ejection of a coach in a Final Four game. Marquette's Al McGuire got two technicals in the 1974 championship.

Smith, who had been hit with a technical in the first half by official Pete Pavia, got a second when he escorted reserve guard Kenny Harris to the scorer's table to replace senior Rick Fox, who had fouled out.

Smith walked Harris to midcourt, out of the restraining area, and Pavia gave him the second technical, which is an automatic ejection.

As he was leaving the court, Smith walked down the Kansas bench and shook hands with Williams, his former assistant, and other Jayhawks coaches and players.

After the game, Smith said he was asking Pavia -- who ejected Oklahoma coach Billy Tubbs Wednesday in the National Invitation Tournament final -- how much time he had to replace Fox and was escorting Harris to the scorer's table, which he said was his right.

"I was walking a player out, and I'm allowed to do that. The last one [technical] was ridiculous. There's no way I expected a technical," said Smith.

"I was asking how much time was left for me to make my substitutions. No way do I ever want to leave a game. I'm not Billy Tubbs."

As the game was ending, longtime North Carolina assistant Bill Guthride charged after Pavia and reportedly had to be pulled away by police and security officials, while screaming: "That's bush, that's bush. Where did you learn to officiate?"

However, Jim Delany, chairman of the Division I basketball committee and commissioner of the Big Ten Conference, said that the technical was appropriate, as Smith had left the prescribed coaching box.

The NCAA basketball rules state that a coach "may only leave the confines of the coaching box area to seek information from the scorer or timer during a timeout or intermission."

Williams said he thought that Smith shouldn't have been assessed a technical.

"He did not say enough to get that technical. He said he didn't mean for it to end that way and that he was happy for us," said Williams.

"After he was gone, I screamed to my guys, 'Let's play.' It spoils it now because that's all you guys want to talk about. It was not a significant factor in the game."

And he was right, for the Jayhawks, who were supposed to be at a height disadvantage, out-rebounded North Carolina, 51-42, including 21-19 on the offensive boards, to control the flow.

"The key for us was good shot selection and work on the boards," said senior Mark Randall, who had 16 points and 11 rebounds.

The Tar Heels had their opportunities. After trailing, 43-34, at halftime and falling behind by as many as 10 points within the first five minutes of the second half, North Carolina, led by six of junior Hubert Davis' 25 points, to pull to within 58-57 with 8 minutes, 19 seconds left.

But after Fox, who had 13 points on 5-for-22 shooting, made the basket to get North Carolina to within one, he missed two shots on the next three possessions, any one of which would have given the Tar Heels the lead.

"Maybe Rick wanted to show Coach Williams just how much he had improved," said Smith.

"It may have looked like I was trying to do it all myself, but I wasn't," said Fox. "The 10-, 12-foot jumpers that I missed were the same shots that I'd gotten all year. I've never had a tougher day shooting.

"We got the same shots that we'd been getting all year, but they didn't fall."

On the other end, the Jayhawks came back with a 9-0 run on a three-pointer from junior guard Sean Tunstall, a lay-in from freshman forward Richard Scott and two baskets from sophomore Adonis Jordan that effectively iced the game.

"I think we kept our cool even when North Carolina had their run or we missed some free throws," said junior forward Alonzo Jamison. "The coach said just get over the hump. It was the team concept that won tonight, and we'll need that on Monday."

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