Put yourself in the sneakers of two of North Carolina's leading scorers, Kevin Madden and Rick Fox. Whenever they looked up at the ceiling of Brendan Byrne Arena, all they saw were the hands, arms and facial pores of Georgetown's Alonzo Mourning and Dikembe Mutombo, 6'10" and 10'6", respectively. Only kidding, Dikembe, babe. While Madden and Fox were making only one of 13 shots, Tar Heel center Scott Williams was getting a different view, mostly from flat on his back after having been blasted to the hardwood by another Mourning or Mutombo nudge, push, elbow or block.
It's difficult to understand how Carolina could have outrebounded Georgetown 50-47 and how Williams could have had 19 points and nine rebounds without either the team or the player being a factor. But that's what happened. This first meeting between old coaching friends Thompson and Smith since the storied 1982 NCAA title game—the real uno más—turned early, when it became obvious which team had the better guards. Georgetown's Mark Tillmon embarrassed the Tar Heels' playmaker. King Rice, outscoring him 27-3.
But even with Tillmon and an excruciatingly wild and wonderful little freshman guard named David Edwards—"He'll either kill me or I'll kill him," said Thompson—it is the Hoyas' twin terrors who will cause opponents nightmares all season. Mutombo, actually listed as 7'2" (uh-huh, sure), seems benign enough—he rejected Tar Heel shots, his face bearing the hint of a smile each time. Conversely, Mourning (18 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks) is the Hoyas' warrior, staring and jawing to such an extent that long after the outcome became inevitable, he was chastising Williams, "Don't be goldbricking, man."
Lynch impersonated former Carolina star James Worthy, with 19 points and seven rebounds in 20 minutes, and seemed to be the only unintimidated Heel. "We wrote Mourning's number (33) on the chalkboard instead of his name so the players wouldn't realize it was him," said Smith. "It didn't help."
Inevitably both Smith and Thompson—who, like Boeheim, spoke out against the Challenge as being too much, too soon—couldn't help but acknowledge that the competition would benefit their teams. Smith said he likes the concept because the players like it.
"Players?" boomed Thompson. "At Georgetown the players don't make decisions. I get paid to do that. This ain't no democracy. I don't care what the players think! But, yes, since you asked, I will play this thing again next year."