No. 14 Richmond strikes again, ousts No. 3 S. Carolina Spiders close lane late, give Gamecocks another early ticket home, 62-61

NCAA tournament; East at Washington

March 13, 1998|By Christian Ewell and Don Markus | Christian Ewell and Don Markus,SUN STAFF

WASHINGTON -- South Carolina's sure-thing isolation plays for BJ McKie failed, so now another first-round loss in the NCAA tournament will dog the Gamecocks for the next year.

The No. 3 seed Gamecocks lost to No. 14 seed Richmond, 62-61, in the East Regional at the MCI Center yesterday. The defeat comes a year after losing to No. 15 seed Coppin State in last season's first round.

It took the luster off a 23-8 season and ended the career of All-Southeastern Conference guard Melvin Watson. It also dropped South Carolina to 0-4 in NCAA first-round games since 1973.

Meanwhile, Richmond (23-7) added another volume to its series of upset stories. Seven years ago in their last trip to the tournament, the No. 15-seed Spiders upset No. 2 Syracuse. They defeated Auburn and Charles Barkley in 1984, and Indiana and Georgia Tech in 1988.

"We did our best," Richmond coach John Beilein said, "and it turned out to be a victory."

Twice in the last minute, South Carolina gave the ball to McKie, who seemed to have beaten guard Jonathan Baker, but each time, ran into trouble

The first time, McKie bowled into center Eric Poole and was called for an offensive foul with 41 seconds left.

The second attempt -- following Richmond guard Marseilles Brown's missed running jumper -- came with 7.8 seconds remaining.

McKie -- rolling toward the left side of the lane -- blew past Baker again, but his shot bounced off the back of the rim and into the hands of USC's LeRon Williams, whose put-back attempt hit the bottom of the front rim as time expired.

"We got what we wanted -- BJ McKie in the lane," South Carolina coach Eddie Fogler said.

Richmond led for most of the game after two free throws by Daryl Oliver tied the game 25-25 with 4: 32 left in the first half.

Neither team led by more than nine points. Richmond was leading 40-31 with 17: 09 left after a jumper by Jarod Stevenson, who had two key free throws with 1: 29 left and shared game-high scoring honors with McKie with 24 points.

Brown scored 15 for Richmond, and was followed by Daryl Oliver (11 points), who said the win was a boost of honor for the Colonial Athletic Conference.

Connecticut 93, Fairleigh Dickinson 85: The second-seeded Huskies (30-4) overcame a sensational performance from guard Elijah Allen, who scored a career-high 43 points on 14-for-17 shooting, matching the third-best scoring total in an East Regional game and the most against a UConn team since 1960.

A 6-1 senior whose previous high game was 29 points earlier this season, he hit six of 10 three-pointers. The last of the threes came as Allen threw in an off-balance shot while being fouled by Connecticut's Ricky Moore with 25.4 seconds to go, cutting FDU's deficit to 89-84.

The Knights (23-7) would get no closer, as Allen missed the ensuing free-throw attempt. Earlier, Allen had cut FDU's deficit to 77-75 with 4: 42 left.

Washington 69, Xavier 68: Despite 26 turnovers and poor free-throw shooting, the No. 11 seed Huskies were the beneficiaries of the overall inaccuracy of the sixth-seeded Musketeers, winning the first-round game at the MCI Center.

Deon Luton scored 17 points, including the game-winner with 11 seconds left, giving the Huskies (19-9) their first NCAA tournament win since 1984.

Washington forced 17 turnovers and held Xavier to one field goal in the final 9: 53.

"On the selection telecast, when our name came up they said we were a hard team to figure," Washington coach Bob Bender said. Now you've seen us, now you know why."

After failing to capitalize on Washington turnovers throughout the game's final eight minutes, Xavier (22-8) finally went ahead with 42 seconds left on two free throws by Gary Lumpkin.

After Luton's shot -- made on a play designed for Donald Watts -- Lumpkin drove and threw an air ball from the left side that was rebounded by Washington's Patrick Femerling.

But Femerling stepped out of bounds, giving Xavier one more chance with 1.7 seconds left T.J. Johnson's layup attempt off the inbounds pass was blocked.

Indiana 94, Oklahoma 87, OT: First they blew a 19-point lead in the last 13 minutes of regulation. Then it appeared as if the seventh-seeded Hoosiers were going to squander another lead after scoring the first six points in overtime.

But with Indiana holding onto a 90-87 lead, freshman Luke Recker saved the Hoosiers from elimination, hitting three free throws in four attempts in the final 24.2 seconds to secure the victory at the MCI Center.

It followed a season-long trend in which Indiana has blown

several big leads.

"I even said, 'We've got ahead too soon," said Indiana coach Bob Knight, whose team led 65-46. "We made a lot of dumb mistakes. To analyze it, I was surprised that we came back in the overtime and had some semblance of control."

The victory was the first for Indiana (20-11) in the NCAA tournament after three straight first-round losses. The defeat was the fourth in the first round in as many years for Oklahoma (22-11).

Senior forward Andre Patterson led Indiana with 26 points, and sophomore guard A.J. Guyton had 23 and Recker finished with 21. Corey Brewer led Oklahoma with 22.

Pub Date: 3/13/98

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