Hampton's Merfeld likes shaky feeling

Coach hoping for signs as Pirates take on Hoyas

West notebook

NCAA Tournament

March 17, 2001|By FROM STAFF REPORTS

BOISE, Idaho - If the ground shakes again late in today's game against Georgetown, Hampton coach Steve Merfeld's team will be in pretty good shape.

Merfeld said he felt the floor move when the 15th-seeded Pirates' center, Tarvis Williams, blocked a shot with about one minute left in his team's 58-57 win over second-seeded Iowa State on Thursday.

The shaking was courtesy of the fans who filled BSU Pavilion, who as the game went on, became decidedly pro-Pirates.

Hampton will likely get its share of support today when it attempts to knock off 10th-seeded Georgetown to advance to the Sweet 16.

"Our band and cheerleeders did a lot to get them behind us," Merfeld said.

As did Williams, who finished with a game-high 16 points, 13 rebounds and six blocked shots.

He has become the darling of this regional. The Pirates list Williams at 6 feet 9, but his extraordinary jumping ability makes it seem as though he's much taller.

Williams got into foul trouble early in the second half. Without him, the Cyclones turned a one-point deficit into a nine-point lead.

Merfeld put Williams back in with just over 13 minutes left. He played the remainder of the game, making the winning shot with six seconds left.

"We list him at 6-9, but he really is more like 6-7. He plays a lot taller than he is because he has a 7-foot wingspan," Merfeld said.

The matchup between Williams and Hoyas center Ruben Boumtje Boumtje will be one of the most interesting ones in the regional. Boumtje Boumjte is a 7-footer, and he will need every inch if he plans to get to one of Williams' shots.

"I was very impressed with Tarvis," Georgetown coach Craig Esherick said. "I'm hoping Tarvis gets in foul trouble. He can create his own shot because he can jump so well.

"I think he definitely will be drafted [by an NBA team]."-- Brent Jones

Driesell gets help

Lefty Driesell was serious about flying his fiery former manager at Maryland, Vinny Mayolo, to Boise in an attempt to give Georgia State an emotional lift for a much-anticipated matchup today against Maryland.

Driesell made plans after his practice was over yesterday to have Mayolo travel from his Lonaconing, Md., home by car late last night to Pittsburgh, where he would take a flight through Salt Lake City to Boise, arriving early this morning.

Mayolo is psyched up for the Maryland game because he believes Driesell's former school didn't treat the coach right during his forced exit in 1986 through the following years leading up to today's game.

"I just feel it's not right that Maryland took many of Coach's banners portraying his many accomplishments down," said Mayolo, who is still one of Driesell's closest friends and often talks to the coach right after games.

"Coach is still not in the Maryland Hall of Fame while so many others have made it. You know this game will be full of emotion for Coach."

Mayolo was Driesell's manager at Maryland from 1981 to 1986 and was known for his outbursts on the bench. In a move that almost got him fired, Mayolo once left the bench to tackle Virginia's Othell Wilson during an altercation involving Maryland's Dutch Morley and Herman Veal.

Mayolo is an expert on Driesell's coaching career and listened to every Georgia State game on the radio this season. --- Bill Free

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