Buzzer beaters are the putative specialty of Indiana's Keith Smart, who won the NCAA title with just such a shot last spring. As the Hoosiers broke a late timeout huddle with Richmond ahead by a point, Smart turned toward press row and said, "Don't worry, we're going to win." Whereupon, with 19 seconds to play, Smart clanged a 15-footer. Smart had seen it done the right way just moments earlier, when Rodney Rice sank a top-of-the-key jumper in Smart's face that gave Richmond the lead it wouldn't lose. In a 59-55 win over Georgia Tech two days later, the Spiders' Peter Woolfolk, who's built like something out of a Tidewater Navy yard, had 27 points and nine rebounds and outplayed the Yellow Jackets' frontcourtmen, Duane Ferrell and Tom Hammonds. "He just tore us apart," said Hammonds.
With North Carolina shipped west, the Chapel Hill subregional produced two curious interlopers. One of them, Duke—the Tar Heels' archrival—took over Carolina's Dean Smith Center and cruised past Boston University and SMU. With the Blue Devils' star, Danny Ferry, muddling through a two-game, 12-for-33 shooting slump, outside scorer Kevin Strickland went inside for most of his 31 points in Duke's 94-79 defeat of the Mustangs. But let us praise Alaa Abdelnaby, the Blue Devils' reserve center from Egypt, who called his 13 points "just gravy on the cake."
The Deandome was positively paradisiacal for Rhode Island, which shares North Carolina's colors, mascot and fight song, if not its high-rent conference affiliation. The Rams' Tom Garrick (see box, page 30) scored 29 points against Missouri as the Tigers fell in a first-round upset for the second straight season. Garrick added 28 points against trash-talking Syracuse, whose Stevie Thompson disparaged the Atlantic 10 in a midgame conversation with Ram guard Carlton (Silk) Owens, and at one point advised the gap-toothed Owens to make an orthodontic appointment. The Orangemen, who lost 97-94, could have used a session with the shot doctor. As usual, better free throw shooting might have won the game for Syracuse.
The work of Rhode Island forward Kenny Green in the paint makes the Rams a dangerous foe for Duke. "If they keep playing like this, they could beat anybody," said Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim. All season Duke's devilish man-to-man has isolated and shut down high-scoring guards, thanks largely to ace defender Billy King. But Rhode Island has two scoring guards who between them committed but one turnover against the Orangemen. The Dookies will need a restored Ferry to reach the regional final, but it will take more than they can muster to doom Temple.
Senior pat enright was on the team only because Villanova coach Rollie Massimino had needed warm bodies back in December 1985. In desperation he asked Enright, whom he had cut twice before, to walk back on. Enright was in the game only because three Wildcat regulars weren't: Doug West had a concussion, and Tom Greis and Gary Massey had fouled out. So who converts the three-pointer from the right corner in the last minute to put Villanova in front of Illinois by a point after the Wildcats had trailed by eight with 2:45 to play? That's right, Enright. "A prayer," he called the shot. When senior Mark Plansky shrewdly pump-faked Kendall Gill into a foul and sank two free throws with four seconds left, Villanova had a 66-63 win and had salvaged a smidgen of honor for the Big East.
Villanova may have some important intangibles going for it. A third-place finish in the Big East, a Southeast subregional win in Ohio, a regional semifinal date in Birmingham—the exact parallels to 1985's national championship season are portentous. "It's very similar," said Plansky, the one holdover from the title team. "It's really bizarre." Too bizarre, probably.
"My bad, fellas," said Kentucky guard Rex Chapman, using playground parlance to apologize to his teammates at halftime after hitting one of six shots from the floor and one of six from the line against Maryland. But by game's end Chapman had 23 points, including three three-pointers. He and his back-court partner, the ever steady Ed Davender, combined for 99 points in Kentucky's 90-81 defeat of Maryland and its 99-84 win over Southern.
Garbage time comes early when Oklahoma plays, even if coach Billy Tubbs doesn't treat it as most teams do. Tennessee-Chattanooga was the victim of the Sooners' first-round trashing, 94-66. The refuse began accumulating quickly in Oklahoma's 107-87 blowout of Auburn, too—and didn't stop, as Sooner starters Stacey King, Harvey Grant and Ricky Grace were still on the floor at the finish. But, Coach, what if one of them had broken a limb? "We'd just put on the black armbands," said Tubbs, "and go on to the next game."
Tiger coach Sonny Smith refused to carp about Tubbs's notion of sportsmanship. "If I had to say one word about Oklahoma, it'd be 'defense,' " said Smith diplomatically. On Thursday the Tigers survived 44 points by Bradley greyhound Hersey Hawkins to win 90-86. but on Saturday the Sooner garbagemen didn"t even leave Auburn any bones. Said Tiger center Jeff Moore after the defeat, "We've lost the last two years to the national champions, and I believe they're going to make it three."