Duncan, W. Forest stand tall in win Deacons center out-duels St. Mary's 7-3 Millard

Georgetown eliminated

West Regional

March 15, 1997|By Ken Murray | Ken Murray,SUN STAFF

TUCSON, Ariz. -- Tim Duncan collided with "Big Continent" last night, and the impact revived Wake Forest's season of great expectations.

Getting a magnificent 22-point, 22-rebound effort from their All-America center, the Demon Deacons flattened St. Mary's, 68-46, in the NCAA's West Regional at McKale Center.

But it was not as simple as that.

For Wake, the obstacles included St. Mary's 7-foot-3, 345-pound sophomore Brad Millard -- nicknamed "Big Continent" -- a shabby first half of guard play by the Deacons, and a crowd of 13,325 that got behind the West Coast Conference underdogs.

In the end, the third-seeded Deacons (24-6) overcame it all with their best basketball of the past month, advancing to tomorrow's second round against No. 6 seed Stanford.

"That was the first time in a long time we were challenged where we came together," Wake coach Dave Odom said. "And St. Mary's made us come together."

The challenge came after Millard brought the 14th-seeded Gaels (23-8) back from an 11-point first-half deficit to a second-half tie. It was during that flurry that Millard dunked over Duncan, and got the crowd on his side.

After David Sivulich's three-pointer earned St. Mary's a 34-34 tie with 15: 18 left in the game, Wake's erratic backcourt seized control of the game. In particular, Tony Rutland, who had gone 0-for-3 with four turnovers in the first half.

Rutland answered with a three-pointer of his own, and over the next five minutes scored 11 points to push Wake into a commanding 48-37 lead.

When Duncan scored 10 straight Wake points a few minutes later to finish off a 32-10 run, the game became a rout.

Millard finished with 16 points, six rebounds and two blocks.

"I had to do everything I could to combat what he did," said Duncan.

Odom called Millard a future lottery pick for the NBA. "He is huge and very, very good," the coach said. "I would say he surprised me, how good he was."

It was Duncan's night, though. His five blocks established an NCAA tournament career record of 47. The old mark was held by Marcus Camby of Massachusetts. And Duncan's 22 rebounds represented the fifth-best single-game effort in a West Regional.

"He was as good as I thought he was," said Millard, who played 36 minutes and faded down the stretch.

"I was dying," he said. "I admit it. I was dying towards the end of the second half and wanted to come out so bad. I was fatigued and that's one thing I need to work on."

Wake Forest used a 15-0 run early to build a 16-5 lead that carried the Deacons through the first half. But St. Mary's began to chip away. Millard led the comeback, scoring nine points in the last 12: 30 of the half to get the Gaels within three at 27-24.

UNC-Charlotte 79, G'town 67

Operating on a theme of respect, UNC-Charlotte shoved Georgetown into a 31-13 first-half hole and bounced the Hoyas out of the NCAA tournament.

Charlotte's first NCAA tourney win after three first-round defeats earned a second-round matchup with Utah.

"This team is a little different," said first-year coach Melvin Watkins, who served 18 years as an assistant at the school. "They're not happy just to be here. They're here with a purpose."

Point guard Sean Colson scored 24 points to lead the 49ers (22-8), and 6-7 forward Versile Shaw, inserted into the starting lineup to give Charlotte help on the boards, had 19.

"You see the brackets and everybody just penciled in Utah-Georgetown [in the second-round], and they didn't give us a chance," Colson said.

Georgetown (20-10) had just one field goal in a stretch of 8: 37 in the first half, when it fell behind by 18. Coldest of the Hoyas was Victor Page, who hit just one of nine shots in the first half, and finished 7-for-23 for 20 points.

"We wanted to make sure every time Page touched the ball, he had a tough shot," Watkins said.

The Hoyas got as close as six points twice in the second half, but Colson's clutch shooting -- including two prayers that went in as he was fouled -- kept Charlotte in front.

Stanford 80, Oklahoma 67

Stanford point guard Brevin Knight choreographed a second-half surge that sent the Cardinal into a second-round West Regional matchup with Wake Forest tomorrow.

Knight scored 14 of his 18 points in the second half, and finished with 10 assists and seven rebounds.

"I asserted myself a little more in the second half," Knight said. "The first half I was pretty much passive trying to get a feel for how they were going to play me. The second half I felt I had to be more aggressive."

Stanford (21-7) put four players in double figures.

Pub Date: 3/15/97

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