Carolina finds range, ousts Clemson, 99-81

Tar Heels get revenge

Ga. Tech upsets Virginia

College Basketball

ACC tournament

March 10, 2001|By Don Markus | Don Markus,SUN STAFF

ATLANTA -- North Carolina coach Matt Doherty didn't have to do too much to motivate his slumping Tar Heels for yesterday's game against Clemson in the opening round of the 48th Atlantic Coast Conference tournament.

All Doherty did was show his players a tape of their last game against the Tigers, a 10-point road loss three weeks ago that started a stretch of three defeats in the last five games.

It showed the Tigers and their fans storming the court at Littlejohn Coliseum.

"If we couldn't get up for a game against a team that just beat us, we'd have to check our pulse," Doherty said.

The top-seeded Tar Heels are alive and still a bit ticked off about the way they finished the regular season. They took some of that frustration out in the final minutes of a 99-81 victory over the Tigers yesterday at the Georgia Dome.

Behind the torrid three-point shooting of junior forward Jason Capel, North Carolina (24-5) pulled away from Clemson (12-19) midway through the second half. Capel finished with 23 points, as did Tigers guard Will Solomon.

"Every shot felt good when it left my hand," Capel said.

Capel shot 8-for-9 overall, including a 6-for-6 on threes. In doing so, Capel broke the school record for three-point shots made in an ACC tournament held previously by three players, including Doherty, who had five.

Capel's hot shooting, coming over the top of Clemson's triangle-and-two zone, offset another cold shooting game by sophomore All-American Joseph Forte, who finished 6-for-17 overall.

"I think we definitely have people who can score when the other team is trying to shut down Joseph," Capel said.

The Tar Heels also got help offensively from senior center Brendan Haywood (17 points) and senior forward Kris Lang (16).

The Tigers stayed close for much of the game. Trailing 50-45 at halftime, Clemson was behind by only six, 76-70, on a three by Solomon with 9:01 remaining. But the Tar Heels went on a 9-0 run to put the game away.

"We flip-flopped back and forth, but you know what, North Carolina was just too good, too smart for too long," said Clemson coach Larry Shyatt.

And, in Capel's case, too hot.

Georgia Tech 74, No. 12 Virginia 69: Georgia Tech needed another victory to solidify its NCAA credentials. Alvin Jones made sure the Yellow Jackets got it.

Taking advantage of a team that simply had no one who could handle him, Jones led Georgia Tech over Virginia in the ACC tournament quarterfinals.

The 6-foot-11 center scored 20 points, grabbed 12 rebounds and blocked six shots as the Yellow Jackets made a powerful statement in their bid to reach the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1996.

"I know I'll sleep a lot better tonight," Tech forward Jon Babul said. "Winning this game will help us a lot come tournament time."

Of course, the Yellow Jackets (17-11) still have another tournament to worry about. The No. 5 seed advanced to meet top seed North Carolina, ranked third nationally, in the ACC semifinals today.

"We're not thinking about the NCAA right now," said reserve guard Darryl LaBarrie, who added 13 critical points for Georgia Tech. "We want to take it out of their hands. If we win two more games, we'll get the automatic bid and we won't even have to worry about the selection committee."

Georgia Tech won an ACC tournament game for the first time in five years and completed a three-game season sweep of the fourth-seeded Cavaliers (20-8).

Virginia simply didn't have anyone who could handle Jones, an All-ACC selection who lived up to the pre-game assessment of Cavs coach Pete Gillen. "He's a monster," Gillen had said.

Virginia lacks a starter taller than 6-8 but shied away from double-teaming Jones for fear of freeing up Tech's guards to shoot from outside. At the offensive end, the Cavs tried to use their athleticism to get by Jones, but he kept turning them away.

"It was hard for us to get our shots over him," said Donald Hand, who shot 3-for-14. "It seemed like everything we were throwing up, he was putting it back the other way."

The Associated Press contributed to this article.(Box score, 6c)

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