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Dean Smith’s replacement admitted Saturday he made his first major coaching blunder of the season. Bill Guthridge’s mistake didn’t last long enough to make No. 1 North Carolina pay.
Guthridge replaced his starters with 1:26 left against Virginia and the Tar Heels (17-0, 4-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) holding a 10-point lead. The substitutes struggled, though, forcing him to put the starters back in a final time before replacing them again about a minute later in an 81-73 victory over the Cavaliers (8-7, 1-2) in Chapel Hill, N.C.
During that stretch, North Carolina’s inexperienced “blue team” allowed Virginia to close within five points.
“It was obvious I made a mistake so I got (the starters) back in,” Guthridge said of the sub’s initial 11-second stint. “The second time I put them in I thought it was safe, and for sure I wasn’t going to put them in a third time.”
Antawn Jamison scored seven of his 26 points over a 1:05 span in the second half and North Carolina made a season-high 35 free throws to pull out the win over foul-plagued Virginia.
The Tar Heels won for the 33rd time in their last 34 games. North Carolina made 35 of 42 free throws - including its first 14 - to win its 15th straight ACC game.
The 35 free throws were the most by the Tar Heels since they made 37 in December 1987 against Nevada.
The Cavaliers fell to 3-55 in Chapel Hill and 0-13 in the Smith Center, but remained in the game most of the way. Norman Nolan, coming off consecutive 30-point games, led Virginia with 29 points.
(2) Duke 75, (13) Florida St. 63
In Tallahassee, Fla., Roshown McLeod scored a career-high 25 points and the Blue Devils (14-1, 4-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) survived a cold-shooting second half to hand the Seminoles (12-4, 1-3) their second straight loss.
(3) Utah 71, BYU 61
In Provo, Utah, Michael Doleac scored 15 of his 18 points in the second half as the Utes (13-0, 1-0 Western Athletic Conference) remained unbeaten with a victory over the Cougars (5-10, 0-1).
(4) Kansas 102, Texas 72
In Austin, Texas, Billy Thomas was 6 of 6 from 3-point range in the second half and Paul Pierce scored 31 points as the Jayhawks (19-2, 3-0 Big 12) handed the Longhorns (6-8, 0-3) their worst home loss in 14 years.
(6) Kentucky 77, Mississippi St. 71
In Starkville, Miss., Heshimu Evans scored all 10 of his points over the final eight minutes as the Wildcats (14-2, 3-0 SEC) defeated the Bulldogs (12-4, 1-2).
(9) Purdue 86, Houston 53
In Houston, Chad Austin scored 21 points and set a school career 3-point shooting record (180) as the Boilermakers (14-3) handed the Cougars (7-7) their worst-ever home loss.
Wyoming 58, (12) New Mexico 55
In Laramie, Wyo., Gregg Sawyer scored 18 points and Jeron Roberts added 17 to lead the Cowboys (11-2 overall, 2-0 Western Athletic Conference) over the Lobos (11-2, 1-1).
(14) Mississippi 74, Alabama 63
In Tuscaloosa, Ala., with leading scorer Ansu Sesay struggling with his shooting, Keith Carter scored 17 points to help the Rebels (12-1, 3-0 Southeastern Conference) beat the Crimson Tide (9-7, 1-2) for their eighth straight victory.
(15) Princeton 69, Brown 38
In Providence, R.I., Steve Goodrich scored 19 points and Gabe Lewullis added 17 as the Tigers (13-1, 2-0 Ivy League) mauled the Bears (3-11, 0-2)..
(16) South Carolina 70, LSU 53
In Columbia, S.C., the Gamecocks (10-2, 2-1 Southeastern Conference) overcame a horrible-shooting first half and reserve Herbert Lee Davis scored all 10 of his points in a 21-9 second-half run that put away the Tigers (7-6, 0-3).
(17) Michigan 79, Michigan St. 69
In Ann Arbor, Mich., Maceo Baston scored 23 points as the Wolverines (13-4, 3-1) handed the Spartans (9-4, 2-1) their first Big Ten loss and snapped their five-game winning streak.
(18) Syracuse 69, Louisville 65
In Syracuse, N.Y., Todd Burgan scored 24 points and Ryan Blackwell added 17 as the Orangemen (14-1) used solid long-range shooting to hold off the Cardinals (7-8).
(19) Xavier 77, Fordham 43
In Cincinnati, sixth man James Posey stepped into a starter’s role and led the Musketeers (10-3, 2-1 Atlantic 10) over the Rams (4-9, 0-3).
San Diego St. 81, (21) Hawaii 72
In San Diego, Jason Richey scored 24 points and the Aztecs (7-6, 1-1 Western Athletic Conference) upset the Rainbows (11-2, 0-1) for their first win over a ranked team in 10 years.
(22) Arkansas 75, Memphis 72
In Memphis, Tenn., Kareem Reid scored 16 points and Pat Bradley added 14 as the Razorbacks (13-2) turned back a second-half rally by the Tigers (6-5).
(23) Rhode Island 83, Duquesne 76
In South Kingstown, R.I., Cuttino Mobley scored 24 points, including six free throws in the final minute, and Tyson Wheeler had 11 assists as the Rams (10-2, 3-0 Atlantic 10) held off the Dukes (6-9, 1-2).
(25) West Virginia 98, Miami 84
In Morgantown, W.Va., Damian Owens scored 20 points as the Mountaineers (14-2, 4-2) defeated the Hurricanes (12-2, 5-1).
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