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College basketball

1st game in UM's new home is a win

The Hurricanes beat the poor-shooting Tar Heels 64-61 in OT at the Convocation Center.

©Associated Press

January 5, 2003


CORAL GABLES -- Darius Rice hit a 3-pointer from the corner with 2.5 seconds left to force overtime, then scored the only basket in the extra period to help the Hurricanes open their new arena with a 64-61 victory over North Carolina on Saturday night.

The Tar Heels had 18 consecutive points in the second half, then went the final 12:10 without a basket. They were 0-for-8 in overtime and shot 31 percent for the game.

North Carolina coach Matt Doherty was angry that no foul was called when Jawad Williams missed a potential tying 3-pointer as time ran out. A TV replay showed that Miami's Paulo Coelho appeared to hit Williams on the forearm as he shot.

Doherty stomped to the corner of the court and screamed at the officials as they left the floor.

"I believe Jawad got hit," Doherty said.

Rashad McCants had 14 points for the Tar Heels (8-4), who have lost four of seven after a 5-0 start.

James Jones scored the first basket in the new arena and finished with 21 points for the Hurricanes (7-4), who rallied from a 58-48 deficit over the final seven minutes of regulation.

The game drew 6,826 fans in the new $48-million on-campus Convocation Center, which has 7,000 permanent seats. The Hurricanes averaged 4,651 fans last season at Miami Arena, their home in downtown Miami since 1988.

Rice, who had 17 points, scored on a follow to put the Hurricanes ahead 62-61 with 2:21 left in overtime -- their first lead since 41-40 early in the second half. The Tar Heels had two possessions in the final minute but missed five shots.

"I had no doubt we were going to win the game," Rice said. "I came here to make big shots, and that's what I did."

Raymond Felton had 12 points and Jackie Manuel added 11 for the Tar Heels, who trailed 41-34 when their 18-point run began. McCants sparked the spurt with two baskets and two free throws.

Stymied by North Carolina's zone defense, the Hurricanes went 71/2 minutes without a point and failed to score on 11 consecutive possessions. They committed four turnovers during the drought and missed nine consecutive shots, including a blown dunk by Jones, before he made a layup to make it 52-43 with 10:24 left.

Hurricanes football coach Larry Coker, whose team lost Friday night to Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl, was introduced at halftime.

"We didn't come home with what we hoped to come home with, and that's the national championship," Coker told the crowd. "Are we disappointed? Yes. Are we hurt? Yes. But let me assure you, it's not over for this university. We'll be back."

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