- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
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"It gets tougher and tougher," said Connecticut Coach Dee Rowe after a last-second foul shot by Boston College's Bob Carrington sent the Huskies down to a 68-67 defeat. Then Rowe pulled a small brown bottle from his coat pocket. "Nitroglycerine pills," he said. "Perfect to ease the chest pains." Rowe was less upset four days later, when UConn. overhauled Rhode Island 73-71 to run its record to 18-6 and earn a bid to the ECAC playoffs. Two other New England coaches, George Blaney of Holy Cross and Dave Gavitt of Providence, were jittery after losses to St. John's. The Redmen knocked off the ECAC tournament-bound Crusaders 72-65 and then cut the Friars' hopes of making the Eastern playoffs by zonking them 88-70.
Another anguished coach was Temple's Don Casey. After blowing a 44-30 lead and losing to Penn 57-55, Casey tried to explain how his Owls failed to get off a last-second, game-tying shot. "We had a set jam pick down," he said. "The ball was supposed to go to Kevin Washington or Timmy Claxton. But Penn firmed up on man-to-man and wouldn't let them pop." Penn went on to extend its winning streak to 14, crunching Yale 98-73 and Brown 89-59 and locking up its sixth consecutive Ivy League title.
After 22 years Maryland finally earned its first regular-season championship in the Atlantic Coast Conference by beating Clemson 70-64. Leading the Terp scoring with 20 points was freshman Guard Brad Davis. In a subsequent 108-82 romp at Duquesne, Davis had 18 points and 10 assists, and Steve Sheppard came off the bench to score 27 points. Maryland finished its regular-season play by downing East Tennessee State 104-87. Because of the way he bounces on the court when he is excited, freshman Guard Phil Ford is called Bugs Bunny by his North Carolina teammates. Ford had plenty of reason to jump up and down as he pumped in 22 points in a 76-74 win over North Carolina State. David Thompson had 32 points for the Wolfpack and added 36 more as State drubbed UNC-Charlotte 103-80.
Following an 86-78 loss to Indiana, Ohio State Coach Fred Taylor said Hoosier juniors Quinn Buckner and Bob Wilkerson "can undress people." He also spoke of "a couple instances of rape." What Buckner and Wilkerson did was not criminal but merely superb basketball that resulted in 18 Buckeye turnovers. Buckner also had 19 points, nine assists and six rebounds while Wilkerson had 14 points, 14 rebounds, four assists and two steals. With Scott May out with a broken arm, Steve Green took up the offensive slack. He scored 29 points against Ohio State and 30 in a 112-89 conquest of Illinois.
At 7 a.m. on Monday Alabama boarded a flight for a game against Georgia, but the plane was diverted to Atlanta because of bad weather in Athens, Ga. In Atlanta the team piled into taxis and hurried 60 miles to Athens, arriving at 4 p.m. Although there was no time for a workout and little for relaxing, the Tide held off the Bulldogs 73-64 to regain sole possession of first place in the SEC. Helping Alabama take command was Florida, which shocked Kentucky 66-58. The Gators then lost at Alabama 100-75, while Kentucky defeated Vanderbilt 109-84. Against the Commodores, both Kevin Grevey and freshman Center Rick Robey had 28 points for the Wildcats. Robey drew roars of approval from Kentucky fans with some of his maneuvers. After the first of his three steals, he drove the length of the floor, dribbled the ball behind his back to elude a defender and put in a left-handed layup. Moments later Robey made another steal, drove all the way and scored on a scoop shot. And after his third theft, he pumped in a jumper from the foul line.