Regulation ended at 62-all as Memphis State's Otis Jackson threw up a 30-foot rainbow that Villanova's Granger didn't even bother defending. The rainbow rimmed out of the pot.
With the score 66-66 and 26 seconds remaining in overtime, Pinone was fouled while rebounding. He converted the clutch one-and-one for the last of his game-high 19 points and a lead Villanova never relinquished.
Foul calls also had much to do with Carolina's hard-earned 74-69 defeat of Alabama in its semi. Tide fouls were nearly double (27-14) those of the home, read near-home, team. "Just part of the game," Smith said. The Tar Heel coach had warned his players about 'Bama's rebounding prowess, so in the first half Carolina muscled to a 17-8 board edge on the way to a 31-26 lead. Alabama's Eddie Phillips scored 12 points off Worthy but he didn't bring down a single rebound before intermission. Worthy combined with Perkins for 31 points and 13 rebounds. "They were bumpy inside," said Worthy. "Not physical. Just bumpy."
Speaking of shutouts, Black nearly wove a defensive beauty of his own in the second half, holding 'Bama's freshman point guard leader, Ennis Whatley, to l-for-7 shooting. By the time the Tar Heels had forged a 63-55 lead off Smith's inevitable spread delay with 5:30 remaining in the game, the 'Bama front line was all but depleted. Both Phillips and Philip Lockett had fouled out, and Bobby Lee Hurt soon joined the exodus. Worthy used the occasion to frolic—between-the-legs dribbles, overhead passing assists—in the lane, on the wing or anywhere else in Raleigh he wanted to go. "We couldn't keep the ball off him," said Tide Coach Wimp Sanderson, who could only cringe as Carolina swished 26 of 31 free throws.
On the way to the press room Smith greeted Sanderson cordially, "Hey, if Phillips doesn't foul out...."
"I didn't alibi about it, Dean," Sanderson said. "You guys were great."
Especially in the second half. In fact, in its two second halves in Raleigh, Carolina made 24 of 35 shots (68.6%) and generally played with both flair and brilliant efficiency—precisely the way the consensus No. 1 team, both at the beginning and end of the season, should be playing.
Even Smith, now 7 for 7 in regional finals but 0 for 6 in pursuit of the NCAA title, was relaxed, albeit loath to talk about New Orleans. "This is this team's first regional championship, this team's first trip to the finals," he said. "It's a real accomplishment just to get this far. Sometimes I wonder. My friend Jack Hartman [the Kansas State coach] has been in the final eight five times and nobody writes about it. I'm happy just to reach the Final Four. I'd settle for this every year." But this year he may not have to.