- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
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North Carolina, the nation's best field-goal-shooting team, was throttled down to a miserable 27.3% in the first half by Atlantic Coast Conference cellar dweller Wake Forest. But N.C., led by Robert McAdoo, revived in the second half and put down the rebellion 71-59. Provoked by a Temple sign that proclaimed BIG FIVE BASKETBALL—THE NATION'S BEST, the awakened Deacons bounced back to chastise the Philadelphians 57-51. Willie Griffin hit 10 of 16 shots, most of them at least 20-footers, and scored a career record of 26 points to demolish the Owls.
Virginia's Bill Gibson proved what his fans had thought all along: that he can do no wrong, even when he tries. Losing to North Carolina State with 15 seconds to go, the Cavalier coach tried to call time-out to set up a last shot. None of his players saw his signal, but Frank DeWitt spotted sophomore Lanny Stahurski cutting for the basket and fed him the ball for the winning layup, 69-68. Virginia followed this triumph with a 62-58 victory at Clemson. Poor Clemson, which fell to Virginia Tech, too, 48-44, lost its third last-seconds four-point game of the week by yielding to South Carolina—62-58 again.
Florida State, before losing to Houston, broke Pan American's seven-game winning streak 109-83. As Ron King continued in a slump, 5'7" Otto Petty—King's high school teammate in Louisville—scored 24 points and got 10 assists. "Man, I've been driving on those big dudes all my life," Petty said, "but here I had just turned into a passer; we had so many great shooters."
Jacksonville U's seven-foot sophomore, Dave Brent, still favoring a leg broken in December, blocked 13 shots, got 18 rebounds and scored 15 points to lead the Dolphins past Furman 91-90. Gary Clark threw the ball high into the student section on an in-bounds play and earned possession of The White Brick, awarded for the worst play of a game. White Brick winners carry the thing to class, on dates and even in the shower.
Kentucky leaped over Tennessee into the SEC lead by nipping Alabama 77-74 and, after trailing by six points, edging past upset-minded Vanderbilt 85-80. All five Alabama starters hit in double figures against the wobbly Wildcats; as for the Commodores, they took Kentucky into overtime, barely missing a last-second shot in regulation time that would have won 78-76.
1. N. CAROLINA (14-2)
USC's long-anticipated showdown with UCLA was rendered anticlimactic by the absence of injured Trojan star Paul Westphal and three recent USC defeats. Within 21 seconds Bill Walton crashed on them. "We were out almost instantly," Coach Bob Boyd said. " First Walton gets a three-point play, then the press forces a turnover and it's 5-0. The hope and objective of our whole offense was predicated on not playing from behind." Walton, whom Boyd called "super, super, superb," left the game with eight minutes to go after holding USC's two post men to one point apiece. Final score: 81-56.