- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
Though Houston rallied from that facial to make a game of it—31-29 Carolina at the half—the Coogs could never recover from the 0-for-8 shooting of star Guard Rob Williams. "I never went scoreless, even in my backyard," Williams said afterward.
And so it was on to the finals. "Everybody says Coach chokes in the Final Four, but we're finished with that song," Black said. "I'm tired of hearing it and I've only been here four years, so I know he's tired of it."
On Monday night before the game, Smith said he was as loose as he'd ever been. As the kindly Georgetown rooting section hollered, "Choke, Dean, choke," he even bantered with some journalists, showing them a depleted cigarette pack. "Fewer [smokes] today than for the Duke game," he said.
Shortly, it was Ewing who appeared on fire. The first four Carolina baskets weren't really hoops at all but goaltending violations by Ewing, who was hurtling about the place as if on a pogo stick. Talk about a Sultan of Swat. Eight minutes elapsed before the Tar Heels watched the ball go through the basket. After Smith saw fit to take the handcuffs off Worthy, the 6'9" junior pulled his team from a 14-10 deficit to a 22-22 tie all by himself.
By the time Georgetown established a 32-31 halftime lead on a preposterous fast break slam by Ewing, it was clear to all that this game was special. Thompson had even canceled his I Love Lucy attitude toward Smith by bellowing at the officials, "What're you telling me to sit down for? Don't let him [Smith] run the damn game."
The Hoyas maintained an edge until midway in the second half, when Floyd got cute with a scoop layup off another break. The basket would have given Georgetown a six-point lead, 49-43, and put Carolina on the run. As it was, Perkins hit from the side and Worthy scored three of the next four Heel baskets simply by swoop-jamming over Floyd, Ewing and—the Hoyas having suddenly wised up—nobody at all. During this span Carolina also stiffened on defense, Ewing got his third and fourth fouls, and five free throws gave the Tar Heels a 59-56 lead with 5:32 left. Now Smith could flash his spread-offense signals.
Jordan made a rainbow of a layup for a 61-58 Tar Heel margin, and the Hoyas had to get the ball to Ewing and Floyd. They did both; Ewing, who finished with 23 points and 11 rebounds, scored on a turnaround and Floyd coaxed in a jumper from the lane for a 62-61 Hoya lead. That set the stage for Jordan's final shot and Worthy's defensive magic.
Smith was as classy in victory as he'd ever been in defeat. "I was outcoached tonight," he said. "And I don't think I'm a better coach now because we've won a national. We're the same coach."
We? Smith always shares the spoils. One for seven and back to Chapel Hill. Home, James.