held the lead for most of the second half before Spence bulled his way for a
pair of quick baskets to put the Wolfpack within two points with less than four
minutes to play. At that point, State seemed ready to knock the poise right out
of UNC's youngsters, but the Pack had not bargained on Ford. Working out of the
four corners, he backed and whirled his way down the free-throw lane, finally
getting open for a layup right over State's big men, who were expecting a
Davis says that
Ford is the quickest player over 20 yards he has ever seen. After his layup the
freshman demonstrated his speed. Breaking ahead of the defense, he drove toward
the basket and flicked a quick bounce pass to Kupchak for the basket that gave
North Carolina a six-point lead and ended State's reign as NCAA champion.
The Wolfpack went
out without its composure, being called for three technical fouls and spending
much of the night bickering with the officials. In the last few minutes State
was confused by UNC's zone defense, first frittering away time and then rushing
shots. "We just never got our tempo," said Towe.
Smith said the
victory gave him as much satisfaction as any during his tenure. "People
were writing us off early and calling us the fading Tar Heels," he said.
"But we were down and out against Clemson and Wake and came back. It's the
destiny of this team to win." It's destiny and a brand-new Ford.