Jamison, Heels stop Duke cold for title Recovered forward fouls up McLeod, Devils offense, paving way to 83-68 win

March 09, 1998|By Don Markus | Don Markus,SUN STAFF

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- When Antawn Jamison left the Greensboro Coliseum after Saturday's overtime win against Maryland in the semifinals of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament, he could barely walk without being reminded of the pain shooting up his leg from a pulled groin muscle.

By the time he had returned to his apartment after the team took a bus back to Chapel Hill, Jamison had met an obstacle few teams in the country had provided. "I had trouble making it up the steps," Jamison recalled yesterday.

Jamison's recuperative powers were evident when he skipped across the court of the Greensboro Coliseum before his team's championship game against Duke yesterday. Even more obvious were the abilities that made him the ACC's Player of the Year and, ultimately, the tournament's MVP.

After freshman Shane Battier blocked Jamison's first shot on North Carolina's opening possession, Duke did little to stop him. The 6-foot-9 junior forward finished with 22 points and 18 rebounds to lead No. 4 North Carolina to a convincing 83-68 victory over the top-ranked, top-seeded Blue Devils.

"I asked him if he was faking [the injury]," said fellow junior Vince Carter.

While Jamison made the plays that will likely get him the first of several national Player of the Year awards today -- he wound up 11 of 17 from the field, including a couple of stuffs of other's dreams -- it was his ability to draw Roshown McLeod's fourth personal that proved to be his most significant play.

It came with 14: 36 remaining and the second-seeded Tar Heels clinging to a 51-50 lead. While Duke was able to hang with North Carolina for three more minutes, the absence of McLeod (24 points) eventually proved devastating for the Blue Devils.

"Roshown is our best scorer, and when he went out it was difficult for us to get the ball inside," said freshman center Elton Brand, whose two free throws tied the score at 57. "I think it was a combination of their defense and our inexperience."

Duke wound up missing nine straight shots and turning the ball over five times during a stretch in which North Carolina scored 13 straight points to break open the game. Five of the shots were three-pointers, and the Blue Devils wound up 11 of 32 on threes for the game, including 4-for-19 from guards Trajan Langdon, Steve Wojciechowski and William Avery.

"In the second half, we shot a lot of threes," said sophomore forward Chris Carrawell, who hit seven of 11 shots and finished with 18 points in 29 minutes off the bench. "Taking threes is the easy route. If we become a jump-shooting team going into the NCAA tournament, I don't know if we're going to go for it [the national championship]."

The defeat cost Duke (29-3) the No. 1 seed in the East Regional of the NCAA tournament and a possible return trip here for the regional semifinals. Instead, it will be North Carolina (30-3) that will have a chance to come back to its home state after stopping in Hartford, Conn., later this week.

It marked the second straight ACC tournament championship for the Tar Heels and the 15th in school history. It was also the first under new coach Bill Guthridge, who became only the second coach in league history and the first since Duke's Vic Bubas (1959-60) to win the tournament on his first try.

"It's no different than being an assistant and winning," Guthridge said. "I was thrilled to death when we won in 1967 and 1968 in my first two years at North Carolina. I'm excited for the players. I really haven't thought about it as being my championship."

Most of the players were as expressive as their coach was stoic. The most demonstrative was senior guard Shammond Williams, who jumped onto the press table after the final buzzer and began leading the school band in the fight song.

"I was all-state band in high school, in percussion instruments and the French horn," Williams said. "I know a little about music."

As Williams and senior center Makhtar Ndiaye stood on a platform cutting down one of the nets, Jamison stood off to the side. It was as if he wanted his teammates to enjoy the spotlight, one that he has dominated for much of what might be his last season in Chapel Hill.

"I knew I had to play today," Jamison said later. "I didn't want to let my teammates down. I thought my teammates needed me."

Just as much as McLeod's Duke teammates needed him.

NORTH CAROLINA -- Okulaja 4-7 0-2 10, Jamison 11-17 0-0 22, Ndiaye 3-6 0-0 6, Sh.Williams 5-13 7-7 19, Cota 2-5 4-4 8, Carter 5-8 5-5 16, Haywood 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 31-57 16-18 83.

DUKE -- McLeod 8-18 3-4 24, Battier 1-2 1-1 3, Brand 2-6 5-7 9, Langdon 3-14 2-2 11, Wojciechowski 1-6 0-0 3, Avery 0-7 0-0 0, Carrawell 7-11 2-2 18, Burgess 0-2 0-0 0, Chappell 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 22-67 13-16 68.

Halftime--North Carolina 40-36. 3-point goals--North Carolina 5-14 (Okulaja 2-4, Sh.Williams 2-4, Carter 1-3, Jamison 0-1, Ndiaye 0-1, Cota 0-1), Duke 11-32 (McLeod 5-10, Langdon 3-10, Carrawell 2-2, Wojciechowski 1-6, Chappell 0-1, Avery 0-3). Fouled out--None. Rebounds--North Carolina 39 (Jamison 18), Duke 31 (Brand 10). Assists--North Carolina 12 (Cota 5), Duke 11 (Wojciechowski 5). Total fouls--North Carolina 13, Duke 20. A--23,733.

All-tournament team

First team

Antawn Jamison, UNC (MVP)

Shammond Williams, UNC

Roshown McLeod, Duke

Trajan Langdon, Duke

Terrell McIntyre, Clemson

Second team

Chris Carrawell, Duke

Ademola Okulaja, UNC

Vince Carter, UNC

Ed Cota, UNC

Rodney Elliott, Md.

Pub Date: 3/08/98

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