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Men's college basketball briefs

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published February 12, 2001


Jackets make Cavs latest ranked victim

ATLANTA -- Georgia Tech in the NCAA Tournament? The idea doesn't seem ludicrous anymore.

The Yellow Jackets, picked to finish near the bottom of the Atlantic Coast Conference, knocked off another ranked team Sunday, No. 6 Virginia 62-56 as Tony Akins scored 19 points and freshman Halston Lane hit two key baskets.

First-year coach Paul Hewitt has told his players his goal is an NCAA bid. Georgia Tech hasn't been to the tournament since 1996.

"That's our goal," said Akins, who smothered Virginia guard Donald Hand. "Coach told us if we don't make the tournament, we haven't accomplished anything. If we keep it up, that's where we're going to be."

The Yellow Jackets defeated their second ranked team in five days and fourth of the season. They are tied for third in the conference after sweeping the season series from Virginia.

Georgia Tech also has victories over Kentucky and UCLA to enhance its RPI rating, but senior center Alvin Jones downplayed the post-season talk.

"If we lose the rest of our games, we're not going to be in anything," he said. "We've still got five games left and the ACC tournament."

The Cavaliers again struggled on the road in league play, losing their second in a row and dropping to 1-5 for the season.

"We're definitely different on the road, for whatever reason," said Hand, who went 0-for-9 from the field and had two points. "We did a good job on defense. We just didn't get any shots to fall."

Before the game, Hewitt challenged Akins, his point guard, to shut down Hand. "Donald is a great player, don't get me wrong," Hewitt said. "But I told Tony, 'Play like you're better than him.' "

Akins followed his coach's instructions to the letter. Not only did he hit 7 of 10 shots, making him 23-of-39 over the past three games, he set up the biggest basket of the game.

Drawing a double team as he dribbled along the three-point arc, Akins flipped a pass to Lane. The freshman swished a three-pointer with 1:14 left for a 58-54 lead.

"He's a shooter," Akins said. "I don't know why they left him open, but I'm glad they did."

Lane had a rough day from long range overall, missing his first four three-point attempts before hitting the one that mattered most. "I got some good looks at the basket, but my three wasn't quite as good as it's been in the past," he said. "I was open, and I finally knocked down the shot."

Hand was blocked at the other end by Jones and Virginia was forced to foul after Akins scooped the loose ball. He made both free throws with 58 seconds to go, sealing the victory.

NO. 3 DUKE 101, N.C. STATE 75: Jason Williams and the Blue Devils are back in the groove.

After a couple of mediocre games by its standards, host Duke shot 53 percent, forced 24 turnovers and used a 17-0 first-half run to roll.

Williams, coming off season-worst eight-point games against Florida State and Clemson, scored 23 as Duke's starters all reached double figures.

Nate James added 19 points in front of members of the 1991 national title team, who were honored at halftime.

Duke beat the Wolfpack by six in Raleigh a month ago, but it stormed to a 20-point halftime lead and made eight straight shots and 11 of 12 to start the second half to go up by 30 with 11:02 left.

C-USA

MARQUETTE 75, SAINT LOUIS 69: Cordell Henry scored 22 points and the host Golden Eagles remained a game ahead of Cincinnati in the American Division.

Henry, who is averaging 12 points, scored 11 of Marquette's first 15.

"We needed him because we weren't real efficient in the first half," Marquette coach Tom Crean said. "I love the way he's playing, and I love his energy. He's a big-game guy."

CHARLOTTE 106, LOUISVILLE 72: Rodney White had 26 points and nine rebounds as the 49ers beat the Cardinals at Freedom Hall for the fourth straight time.

Jobey Thomas had 15 points and James Zimmerman 13 for Charlotte, which shot 61 percent and beat Louisville for the eighth time in their past 10 meetings.

Top 25

NO. 12 IOWA ST. 72, MISSOURI 64: Martin Rancik returned after rolling his right ankle to score 23 points, and Jamaal Tinsley had eight of his 18 in the final 4:17 to lead the host Cyclones.

The Tigers fought back from a 10-0 deficit and played gamely in their first appearance without top scorers Kareem Rush and Clarence Gilbert, mainly because of Brian Grawer's three-point shooting.

Rush, the Big 12's leading scorer, is lost for the season with a thumb injury, and Gilbert has been suspended indefinitely.

But Missouri didn't have enough firepower to stay with Iowa State and didn't have anyone who could stay with Tinsley, a master at drawing fouls who took over down the stretch.

NO. 20 NOTRE DAME 69, W. VA. 66: One of Troy Murphy's worst games of the season didn't keep the visiting Irish from their seventh straight victory.

Murphy scored 15 points, but his free throw with a minute left gave Notre Dame the lead, and the Irish held on.

West Virginia's pursuit of Murphy, who shot 4-of-10 from the floor, enabled his teammates to get open shots. NO. 23 FRESNO ST. 86, HAWAII 63: Melvin Ely had 22 points as the host Bulldogs reached 20 victories for the sixth consecutive season under coach Jerry Tarkanian. It is Tarkanian's 29th 20-win season, one shy of the record held by Dean Smith.

Fresno State avenged its only WAC loss of the season. The Rainbows snapped the Bulldogs' 13-game winning streak 11 days earlier.

Nation

INDIANA 72, MICHIGAN 59: Kirk Haston had 30 points, Jared Jeffries added a career-high 26 and the host Hoosiers forced 24 turnovers. Haston had his second straight career-high scoring total and added eight rebounds.

RUTGERS 84, PITT 64: Todd Billet had 26 points and 11 assists to lead the host Scarlet Knights. Jeff Greer added 23 points for Rutgers and combined with his brother Ricardo to become the all-time scoring leaders among brother tandems in Big East games.

GW 92, DUQUESNE 66: SirValiant Brown had 12 points in 26 minutes as host George Washington snapped a two-game losing streak in a game marred by fighting and technical fouls.

Late Saturday

NO. 11 ARIZONA 86, WASH. ST. 51: Warmly greeted by the crowd and towering over the opposition, Loren Woods had the kind of night his sagging confidence sorely needed.

The 7-foot-2 center, who heard boos from his home crowd Thursday night, had 18 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 blocks for the host Wildcats.

"I expect to do things like that all the time. It's important that I play like that," said Woods, who had called his recent play "a joke" after Thursday night's 82-62 victory over Washington.

Woods was 8-for-12 from the field, including several dunks, against the much smaller Cougars. He sat out the last 11:40, and no Arizona starter played the last 10:41 as the Wildcats beat the Cougars for the 32nd time in a row.

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