March 15, 1998 in Sports

Tar Heels Pushed To Limit By Upstart Cousin To South

Associated Press
 

East

This is why North Carolina avoided its neighbor from Charlotte all these years.

North Carolina-Charlotte shut down the nation’s top player and refused to go quietly before losing to the nation’s top team.

The top-ranked, top-seeded Tar Heels needed overtime Saturday to defeat the 49ers 93-83 in the schools’ first meeting and advance into the East Regional semifinals.

“We’re obviously thrilled to win this game,” said UNC coach Bill Guthridge. “I thought it was fantastic. I am very proud of the way we hung in there … We definitely ducked a bullet today.”

UNCC frustrated Tar Heel All-American Antawn Jamison and stayed with the ACC champions the whole way, sending the game into overtime when Diego Guevara hit a leaning 3-pointer over a rushing Jamison.

The 49ers (20-11) were outscored 19-9 in OT as North Carolina advanced to its 16th regional semifinals in 18 years. The Tar Heels will play fourth-seeded Michigan State, which beat No. 5 seed Princeton 63-56 in Saturday’s second game.

“We wore down. Our execution kind of fell off at the end,” said UNCC coach Melvin Watkins. “I walked into the locker room after the game and wasn’t on anyone because I thought the kids gave us all they had.”

Michigan St. 63, Princeton 56

The Spartans (22-7) rode the 27 points, nine rebounds and five assists of sophomore guard Mateen Cleaves to a victory over the Tigers (27-2).

After a Michigan State turnover, a side jumper by James Mastaglio had Princeton even at 54-54 with 2:01 to play. The Spartans scored the next seven points - four free throws by Morris Peterson surrounding a long 3 by Cleaves - and the Spartans were on their way to the third round.

Connecticut 78, Indiana 68

The Huskies (31-4) will be taking another trip to the final 16 after rallying to defeat the Hoosiers (20-12) in Washington.

Richard Hamilton scored 23 points and Khalid El-Amin had 22 points and eight assists for the second-seeded Huskies, who trailed by eight points in the first half and by five at halftime before coming back to win.

The Huskies will bring a 10-game winning streak into the East Regional semifinal against 11th-seeded Washington on Thursday. Connecticut’s 31 wins match the school record set by the 1989-90 team, the first under coach Jim Calhoun to reach the NCAA Tournament.

Calhoun is 15-6 in seven NCAA Tournament games with UConn. This is the sixth time his team has reached the round of 16, although he has never gotten into the Final Four.

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