North Carolina stops Virginia, 67-53 Jamison again stars with 20 rebounds

January 18, 1996|By Don Markus | Don Markus,SUN STAFF

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- Their frontcourt was supposed to be as big a question mark as junior center Serge Zwikker's shadow this season. The North Carolina Tar Heels were supposed to be a middle-of-the-pack team in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Guess again.

Instead, the players who were being counted on to make up for the loss of Jerry Stackhouse and Rasheed Wallace have been surprises, each bigger than the next. The result is really no surprise: North Carolina again will be in the hunt for this year's ACC championship.

Behind another star-in-the-making performance by freshman forward Antawn Jamison, as well as the steady contribution of the 7-foot-2 Zwikker, the 10th-ranked Tar Heels toyed with Virginia last night in a 67-53 victory here at University Hall.

Jamison finished with 16 points and an astounding 20 rebounds -- the most by a Tar Heel since Mike O'Koren pulled down 20 against Duke in 1979 -- and Zwikker added 14 points and seven rebounds. Another freshman, forward Ademola Okulaja, gave North Carolina (13-3, 4-1) nine points and nine rebounds off the bench. Curtis Staples led Virginia (7-6, 2-2) with 17 points.

"As soon as Stackhouse and Rasheed went into the draft, we were looking around and saying, 'We don't have many players left,' " said Zwikker, who redshirted as a freshman and played sparingly as Wallace's backup the past two years. "We took it as a motivational tool."

It obviously has worked. Jamison has been a revelation since ACC play began, and could make a serious run at the league's rookie-of-the-year award all but given to Georgia Tech's Stephon Marbury. Zwikker has shown a soft touch along the baseline, and has put up respectable numbers all season. And Okulaja, who went to high school in the basketball hotbed of Berlin, could be the biggest surprise of all.

With senior guards Jeff McInnis and Dante Calabria keeping counterparts Harold Deane and Staples in check -- Virginia's guards finished a combined nine of 31, including seven of 23 on threes -- North Carolina's frontcourt dominated. Jamison and Zwikker combined for 20 first-half points as the Tar Heels built a 39-28 lead. Playing long stretches without leading rebounder Norman Nolan -- the former Dunbar star played only 18 minutes because of the flu -- the Cavaliers were outrebounded, 57-32.

"I can't remember being outrebounded like that," said Virginia coach Jeff Jones. "At times, they shot until they made it or until they threw it away."

As disappointed as Jones has been with the way this season has gone for the Cavaliers, Dean Smith is just as pleased with his Tar Heels. With a rematch with Villanova, who defeated them earlier in the season in the Maui Invitational championship game, coming Saturday in Philadelphia, North Carolina certainly has silenced its doubters. For now.

"We're not there yet," said Zwikker.

Guess again.

NORTH CAROLINA -- Carter 1-8 0-0 2, Jamison 7-16 2-2 16, Zwikker 7-12 0-1 14, McInnis 5-13 3-3 13, Calabria 2-6 5-6 11, Okulaja 4-8 0-0 9, Williams 1-5 0-1 2, Geth 0-0 0-0 0, Sullivan 0-0 0-0 0, McNairy 0-0 0-0 0, Lynn 0-1 0-0 0, Neal 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 27-70 10-13 67.

VIRGINIA -- Robinson 1-6 0-3 2, Johnson 2-4 1-2 6, Metheney 0-0 0-0 0, Staples 6-17 0-0 17, Deane 3-14 2-2 10, Ch.Alexander 2-4 0-1 4, Nolan 1-3 2-2 4, Co.Alexander 4-11 1-2 10. Totals 19-59 6-12 53.

Halftime--North Carolina 39, Virginia 28. 3-point goals--North Carolina 3-13 (Calabria 2-4, Okulaja 1-2, Carter 0-1, Neal 0-1, McInnis 0-2, Williams 0-3), Virginia 9-29 (Staples 5-14, Deane 2-9, Co.Alexander 1-2, Johnson 1-2, Robinson 0-2). Fouled out--None. Rebounds--North Carolina 57 (Jamison 20), Virginia 32 (Ch.Alexander 10). Assists--North Carolina 16 (McInnis, Calabria 5), Virginia 10 (Robinson 4). Total fouls--North Carolina 11, Virginia 16. A--8,379.

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