Jamison, too, comes back in big way Haunted by loss to UM, forward makes amends with 29 points, 10 rebounds

February 23, 1997|By Ken Murray | Ken Murray,SUN STAFF

COLLEGE PARK -- Haunted by the second biggest collapse in Atlantic Coast Conference history, Antawn Jamison put North Carolina's bitter January loss to Maryland behind him at last yesterday.

The splendid 6-foot-9 power forward completed his own personal exorcism with 29 points, 10 rebounds and a 93-81 victory over the Terps at sold-out Cole Field House.

Now, perhaps, the memory of that Jan. 8 loss in Chapel Hill, when the Tar Heels kicked away a 22-point lead in the final 14 1/2 minutes, won't hurt as much.

"Any time a team has a 22-point lead, you should win the game," Jamison said. "Maryland came in and embarrassed us. Just walking around campus [after that] was hard.

"It was probably the worst I ever felt after a loss. We were in control, we were playing well at home. It was one of the most

embarrassing moments in my career."

There would be no repeat in the rematch; Jamison personally saw to that.

Once the 12th-ranked Tar Heels established an 11-point halftime lead, it was a matter of blunting Maryland's comeback bids. And the 14th-ranked Terps made two of them in the second half, cutting Carolina's lead to five points early and seven points late.

Each time, the Tar Heels had the answer.

When Maryland cut the deficit to 55-49 early in the second half, Jamison delivered an acrobatic basket driving the baseline. Moments later, with the lead down to 59-54, he fired in a reverse layup, was fouled, and converted the old-fashioned three-point play.

"You have to talk about Antawn Jamison's overall play," coach Dean Smith said after Carolina's seventh straight victory set up the prospect of the Tar Heels' 33rd consecutive season finishing in the ACC's top three. "He was so determined. All he could think about was the game at Chapel Hill."

When the Terps cut Carolina's lead to seven (84-77) with a 16-5 run in the final three minutes, 7-foot-3 Tar Heels center Serge Zwikker answered with a layup.

In the game at Chapel Hill, the Tar Heels turned into jump shooters with their big lead. Yesterday, they kept going inside to Jamison and Zwikker. Carolina's two big men combined for 53 points -- on 21-for-31 shooting -- and 17 rebounds. Zwikker peppered the Terps for 24 points, striking often with a short baseline jumper.

Guards Ed Cota (nine) and Shammond Williams teamed up for 16 assists, and together, resisted Maryland's withering press.

"We used poise today," Jamison said. "The first time, we'd make one pass and shoot. Today we made them play defense. We made them work on offense and defense."

FTC Tormenting the Terps has grown into a habit for Jamison, who hit 14 of 16 shots and scored 31 points in an overtime victory here a year ago. In four career games against Maryland, he is averaging 24.3 points and 9.3 rebounds, shooting a phenomenal 63 percent.

"I don't think it's me," he said. "Serge opened things up for me early. It was too hard for them to guard him. My game opened up as a result, and the offense came to me."

The Tar Heels appreciated his all-around game, not only his offensive production.

"Antawn did a great job on the boards," Williams said. "He capitalized when he got the ball, and we were able to get him the ball. Defensively, he did a great job moving his feet to get rebounds."

It was a game to heal old wounds and bury the past for Carolina.

"Losing at home like that stays with you," Zwikker said of the January collapse. "This was a revenge kind of thing."

Especially for Jamison.

"It was in our heads since we lost that game," he said. "We were determined to come out and turn things around."

Pub Date: 2/23/97

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