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News Nuggets, 04.03.05
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Compiled from staff reports and electronic dispatches

Little men come up big as Heels, Illini head to showdown


04.02.05: UNC-G coach beats out Herrion for Siena job ... Terps assistant Dickerson named coach at Tulane ... 'P.H.D.' Pitino gets life in perspective at U of L ...  More...
04.01.05: Gamecocks capture NIT title in thrilling finish ... Coaches pushing for more distant 3-point arc ...  More...
03.31.05: Preparations in place for closed ECU scrimmage ... Texas legislature maneuvers to reign in BCS ... NIT master Odom leads USC into title game ...  More...
03.30.05: Night-time football on the menu for Pirate fans ... Gamecocks top Terps to reach NIT title game ... Hawks halt Memphis in NIT semifinal battle ... More...
03.29.05: East Carolina southpaw takes Conference USA honor ... Beale Street helps Memphis star cure the blues ... More...
03.28.05: McCants helps Heels seal the deal over Badgers ... Scintillating finishes supercharge TV ratings ... More...
03.27.05: Cards, Illini mount monumental rallies to reach Final Four ... Terrapins dump TCU to win Garden date with South Carolina ... Sunday preview: North Carolina vs. Wisconsin ... More...
03.26.05: Duke, State bite the dust; Heels survive ... Louisville, WVU rumble for spot in Final Four ... Fires plague Morgantown after tourney win ... Players nabbed for passing fake currency ... More...
03.25.05: Holland named to powerful USA Basketball panel ... ECU fans to have rooting interest in NIT semis ... Triangle's Sweet 16 teams converge at RDU ... Another DUI charge embarrasses Cincinnati ... More...
03.24.05: NIT: Memphis whips Vandy to advance to Garden ... NIT: Maryland overcomes big Davidson lead ... Big East hops on replay bandwagon ... More...
03.23.05: NIT win over UNLV extends Stokes' ties to USC ... Davidson-Maryland NIT matchup set for TV ... Activists file suit over 'Chief Illiniwek' ... More...
03.22.05: Break over for East Carolina football team ... Frogs in NIT quarterfinals after overtime win ... CBS reaping ratings bonanza from tourney ... Baseball America & Collegiate Baseball Polls ... More...
03.21.05: Spurrier straps on visor, gets down to business ... NCAA Tourney Sweet 16 pairings & schedule ... Tournament's TV ratings up over 2004 ... More...
03.20.05: Kentucky proves it still has Bearcats' number ... Memphis zaps Hokies, starts thinking NIT title ... Davidson tames Bears, turns focus to Terps ... Preview: (4) Louisville vs. (5) Georgia Tech ... More...
03.19.05: Hodge leads Wolfpack to comeback win over 49ers ... Louisville escapes upset bid by Ragin' Cajuns ... Preview: (7) Cincinnati vs. (2) Kentucky ... Preview: (11) UAB vs. (3) Arizona ... More...

ST. LOUIS — The point guards of the country's top two teams did what they were supposed to do — and now they're playing for a national championship.

Deron Williams' defensive effort for Illinois will be considered one of the best ever in the Final Four.

Raymond Felton's offense helped put North Carolina into Monday night's title game.

Williams harassed Louisville's Francisco Garcia for 40 minutes Saturday night and the top-ranked Illini advanced with a 72-57 victory.

Felton bounced back from a subpar first half by getting the second-ranked Tar Heels off to a great start in the second half in their 87-71 victory over Michigan State.

``That's the game everyone wanted,'' Felton said, referring to the first title matchup between Nos. 1 and 2 since 1975.

Felton, a 6'1" junior, had 10 points in the opening 10 minutes of the second half as North Carolina turned a 38-33 deficit into a 67-52 lead.

Known for his passes, he took things into his own hands, hitting two 3-pointers, a drive and another jumper as the Tar Heels surpassed their first-half total by the 10-minute mark of the second half. His jumper with 10:17 left gave North Carolina a 67-52 lead.

Felton didn't forget to distribute the ball, however, finding Jawad Williams on the break with an alley-oop pass and getting the ball to center Sean May, who made the two free throws that gave the Tar Heels the lead for good.

``We went back to doing what we had been doing all year,'' Felton said. ``We got it inside, we threw some lobs and hit some outside shots. We started attacking from every point.''

Felton struggled in the first half, making only one of five shots and turning the ball over four times, more than his average for a game.

That changed in the second half as he got the Tar Heels, the nation's leading scoring team at 88 points per game, back on the break.

``I just attacked,'' Felton said, describing the difference in the halves. ``We just had to do it on every possession and just play defense. That's what made that run and once we got the lead we never gave it back.''

He finished with 16 points on 6-for-12 shooting and had seven assists and eight rebounds. Maybe the most impressive stat was that he had a total of five turnovers, only one in playing 19 minutes in the second half.

``Felton really stepped up his game in the second half,'' Michigan State's Maurice Ager said. ``They made the plays we missed.''

As usual, it was Felton leading the way as the Tar Heels took control.

``We weren't aggressive but they did a great job in the first half,'' he said. ``We weren't playing the way should have been playing. Then we were.''

It didn't seem possible that Williams, a 6'3" junior, could top what he did in the Illini's remarkable comeback win over Arizona in the regional finals — but top it he did.

``I told Coach I wanted him (Garcia) right after the Arizona game,'' Williams said. ``I always want the best player on the other team.''

Garcia, a versatile player who has driven many a defense crazy with his ability to shoot the 3, couldn't do anything against Williams except miss shots.

``It was frustrating. I couldn't make an easy shot,'' Garcia said. ``I just couldn't knock down my shots.''

Despite giving away 4 inches to the 6-foot-7 Garcia, Williams found a way to beat him to every spot by fighting through screens and showing the same tenacity he did in shutting down Salim Stoudamire of Arizona last weekend, holding him to 2-of-13 shooting.

Garcia came in averaging 16.0 points on 44 percent shooting, including 37 percent from 3-point range.

``I knew he was such a big part of their offense that stopping him was taking a big chunk out of their offense,'' Williams said.

Garcia had a season-low four points on 2-for-10 shooting Saturday, only the sixth time this season he scored in single digits. In the first four games of the tournament, Garcia averaged 21 points, including 13 in a foul-plagued effort in the regional final win over West Virginia. The other games were all over 20 points.

Not with Williams there.

The play that best summed up his effort came with 7 1/2 minutes left.

Louisville had just called a timeout after Luther Head's 3-pointer gave Illinois a 58-49 lead. Teams coached by the likes of Rick Pitino always come out of a timeout with a set play that usually results in a score, or at least a good look.

The inbounds pass was going to Garcia right in front of the Louisville bench. Williams beat him there and tipped the ball away for a turnover. The Illini went on to add three more points to the lead before the Cardinals scored again.

That play may not have compared to the steals he made in the final minutes of the win over Arizona, but it took some more life out of Louisville and helped the Illini move into their first national championship game.

Cops unleash tear gas on disruptive MSU fans

EAST LANSING — Police in riot gear used tear gas to disperse a crowd of rowdy Michigan State fans and made several arrests after the Spartans' loss in the Final Four on Saturday night.

Soon after Michigan State lost 87-71 to North Carolina, a crowd of between 500 and 1,000 people gathered in downtown streets and outside apartment complexes a few blocks away, police Lt. Kevin Daley said.

Daley said that as of 1 a.m. Sunday, between 12 and 24 people had been arrested on disorderly conduct charges.

Police tried to break up the crowd before using the tear gas. There had been no violence at that point, but Daley said tear gas is an effective way to scatter a crowd before ``it takes on a life of its own.''

``The point is to ensure the safety of the downtown area to prevent injury and to prevent property damage,'' Daley said.

A burning couch was seen near downtown, and Daley said several trash containers had been set afire. No reports of serious injuries had been received as of 1 a.m. Sunday, he said.

In 1999, after Michigan State lost to Duke in the semifinals, more than 10,000 people ran through downtown East Lansing, overturning cars, setting fires and smashing storefronts. Police responded with tear gas and arrested 132 people, including 71 Michigan State students.

Eighteen people were arrested following a disturbance during the 2003 NCAA men's tournament.

News Nuggets are compiled periodically based on material supplied by staff members; data published by ECU, Conference USA and its member schools; and reports from Associated Press and other sources. Copyright 2005 and other publishers. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Page Updated: 02/23/2007 12:22 PM


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