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College basketball

Williams gets ovation, then victory in UNC debut

By Wire services
Published November 23, 2003

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - Roy Williams was back and No. 9 North Carolina may be too.

The storied program lost a combined 36 games the past two seasons, but the Tar Heels gave their new coach an impressive victory in his debut, 90-64 over Old Dominion on Saturday.

Rashad McCants had 18 points and a career-high eight assists against an Old Dominion team that returned four of its six best players.

Sean May, who missed most of last season with a stress fracture in his left foot, had 17 points, seven rebounds and three blocks. UNC shot 61 percent.

Williams, who left Kansas after 15 seasons to replace Matt Doherty, was greeted with a standing ovation as entered the Smith Center floor, waving to the crowd and his family in the stands. Former coaches Dean Smith and Bill Guthridge were present.

Williams held up a T-shirt: "North Carolina basketball, worth coming home for." Williams then threw the autographed shirt into the crowd.

"My first thought as I came out was that I didn't see myself ever walking out of that tunnel as the head coach of North Carolina," Williams said.

Tar Heels preseason All-American Raymond Felton fell during a drive, clutching his ankle. The point guard limped off, but returned three minutes later.

NO. 1 UCONN 111, SACRED HEART 64: The host Huskies got a strong game from their big three of Ben Gordon, Emeka Okafor and Denham Brown. Gordon scored 27, Okafor had 23 and Brown 20. Connecticut, capitalizing on its fastbreak, shot 71 percent in the first half in taking a 60-28 lead.

NO. 2 DUKE 67, DETROIT 56: Luol Deng scored 21 and J.J. Redick had 19 as the host Blue Devils rallied to improve to 22-2 in openers under coach Mike Krzyzewski. Detroit, a 20-point underdog, led 12-0. Duke got its first points on goaltending with 12:22 left in the first half, and took its first lead midway through the second half. The Blue Devils hit 20 of 22 free throws after the break and pushed the lead to double figures in the final five minutes. Krzyzewski tied UCLA's John Wooden for 18th on the Division I all-time list with his 664th victory.

NO. 12 ILLINOIS 94, W. ILLINOIS 66: The host Illini had five players hit double figures when it had only nine available. Luther Head, Aaron Spears and Richard McBride are suspended for violating team rules.

NO. 18 CINCINNATI 88, AKRON 66: Reserve Tony Bobbitt scored 21 in the Bearcats' 38th consecutive win in a home opener. Akron sustained its worst loss since falling to Bowling Green by 30 on Feb. 23, 2002 - a span of 33 games. Derrick Tarver, who led the MAC in scoring (20.6) last season, rebounded from a six-point first half to finish with 19 for the Zips. Johnny Hollingsworth, second in the MAC with a 17.4 average last season, scored fives.

NO. 19 WAKE FOREST 97, ELON 55: Eric Williams scored 16 and the Demon Deacons won their 15th consecutive home opener. Wake Forest was without junior forward Vytas Danelius, who sprained his ankle in practice Friday.

NO. 22 PITT 90, ST. FRANCIS 69: Chevy Troutman and freshman Chris Taft wore down the Red Flash inside and the host Panthers, tested in the first half, pulled away. Troutman made all eight shots in scoring 18, and Taft added 12 points and eight rebounds. Julius Page, hampered by a sore ankle while scoring eight points in Pitt's opener, led the Panthers with 21.

No. 23 MARQUETTE 75, VALPARAISO 70: Tournament MVP Travis Diener scored 26 and had a key driving layup with 23 seconds left as the host Golden Eagles rallied to win the Blue & Gold Classic. The Crusaders missed four free throws in the final 49 seconds.

MARYLAND 79, AMERICAN 48: Jamar Smith had 14 points and 12 rebounds, and the host Terrapins led 35-8 at halftime.

MISSISSIPPI STATE 90, TENNESSEE MARTIN 74: Lawrence Roberts, a junior transfer from Baylor, had 26 points and 15 rebounds for the host Bulldogs.

C-USA

MEMPHIS 94, FORDHAM 64: The host Tigers outrebounded Fordham 57-29 and used a pressing defense to force 19 turnovers.

EAST CAROLINA 93, CAMPBELL 54: The host Pirates shot 54 percent in the second half to pull away.

State

f,10,wk0 UCF 92, PUERTO RICO-MAYAGUEZ 59: f,10,on0 Josh Bodden had 21 points and eight rebounds as the host Knights won their opener. Puerto Rico-Mayaguez is 0-7 on its tour of Florida.

Baylor mourns Dennehy

WACO, Texas - Before opening with a 72-69 victory over Texas Southern, Baylor took a moment to silently remember slain teammate Patrick Dennehy.

"It shifts our focus from the past to the present, and rekindles a sense of expectancy as we look forward to seeing our team win," said Milton Cunningham, a retired Baylor chaplain. "Our hearts continue to sorrow ... but the time has come to allow the activities of the present to claim our focus."

[Last modified November 23, 2003, 01:46:45]


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