It was close all the way; no more than five points separated the teams in the first half, and Carolina's gangling Bill Bunting, a flamingo who looks as if he has about five extra vertebrae in his neck, was doing a good job on Maloy and hitting well with his own jump shot. The Tar Heels led at halftime 47-46. Maloy asserted himself more in the second half (he finished with 25 points) to help keep it close, but an offensive penalty gave Carolina possession with 1:05, and the Tar Heels killed the clock until time for Scott's big shot.
Carolina's semifinal victory over Duquesne was no easier and, in fact, was one point closer, 79-78. The Dukes, tall and brawny, looked like a weight-lifting team that had lumbered into the wrong gym, and Tar Heel Center Rusty Clark, not about to let any bullies kick sand in his face, was at times so busy retaliating that he forgot about the game. Once he dribbled toward the hoop, stopped, dug his left elbow into the gut of 6'9" Garry Nelson—a Duquesne strongman—and was caught by surprise when Nelson backed off. Clark stumbled past the basket, fell full length across the press table at the court's end and never did get off his shot.
After leading at halftime 48-41, Carolina increased the margin to a comfortable 14 points with a little more than 12 minutes left. Then the Dukes started throwing in baskets after Bunting fouled out. Scott, who earlier had been upset when John Roche, a white New Yorker at South Carolina, was named MVP in the Atlantic Coast Conference, had to save Carolina's neck again, not by shooting this time but by twice feeding sophomore Lee Dedmon for easy goals in the last 27 seconds. He said later: "I wanted to win for the team, not the conference."
In the Mideast Regional at Madison, Wis., Purdue did not meet Kentucky in the finals as expected, because Adolph Rupp's Wildcats were beaten Thursday night by the expatriate New Yorkers of Marquette 81-74. Dan Issel, Kentucky's All-America center with the Holland Tunnel smile (he plays without his false front teeth), was held to just two field-goal attempts in the second half and 13 points overall, a bit more than half of what he usually scores. " Marquette did a fine job on Issel," growled Rupp afterward, "but we did even better. We didn't give him the ball."
Marquette Coach Al McGuire made sure his players did not forget last year's regional in Lexington, Ky., when their star, George Thompson, was "Mickey Moused" out of the game early with fouls and Kentucky won handily. Rupp insisted he was "too old for feuds," but bad feeling was evident on the court and there were a couple of near fights.
"This was for revenge," said Dean Meminger, a sophomore who scored 20 points but did not even play in the game last year. "Our primary objective in this tournament was to beat Kentucky," said Thompson.
That holy mission accomplished, Marquette very nearly reached its secondary objective Saturday afternoon and would have except for Purdue's depth and Rick Mount's amazing shooting. Mount's eyes are so nicely attuned to the hoop that he can tell if anything is even slightly out of kilter. Warming up in Iowa's gym earlier this month, he took a few 30-foot shots, stared at the basket a moment, then walked over to Coach George King. "Coach, the rim of the basket isn't level," he said. "It's a little high in front." Iowa officials insisted that could not be but got out a stepladder and tape measure and checked anyway. Sure enough, the rim was half an inch too high in front and was promptly fixed. Mount scored 43 points that night.
Against Marquette, Purdue was without its starting center, 7-footer Chuck Bavis, who injured his collarbone in the easy semifinal win over Miami of Ohio, and the Boilermakers had only the part-time services of their leading rebounder, Herm Gilliam, who has a bad ankle. But Purdue's talent runs so deep that it can lose a 7' pivotman and its best all-round player and still be fearsome.
Marquette seemed to be just as hopped up as it had been against the bluegrass boys and battled Purdue to a draw, 63-63, in regulation time. The Warriors might have won it—but Meminger missed a free throw, and Ric Cobb, with a chance to win the game by making two more foul shots, blew the second.
In the overtime the two teams exchanged baskets and free throws until it was 73-73 with 26 seconds left and the Boilermakers, with possession, took time out. Everybody in Wisconsin's old, drafty field house knew who would take the last shot—Rick the Rocket. Mount, when it was time, dribbled to the right side, lost his defender on Jerry Johnson's pick and found himself all alone 20 feet from the basket, which is as good as 20 inches for anyone else. His jump shot swished through, and for the 20th time in 31 seasons a representative of the Big Ten was in the final four.