Originally created 03/13/98

Richmond shocks Gamecocks



Those NCAA tournament spoilers from Richmond struck again Thursday.

This time, third-seeded South Carolina was the victim, falling to the 14th-seeded Spiders 62-61 in an East Regional opener in Washington.

Jarod Stevenson scored 24 points for Richmond, which sent South Carolina to its second straight embarrassing opening-round loss. Last season, the Gamecocks lost as a No. 2 seed to 15th-seeded Coppin State.

Opening-round upsets have become almost routine for Richmond. In 1988, the Spiders, seeded 13th, knocked out fourth-seeded defending national champion Indiana. In 1991, as a 15th seed, they beat second-seeded Syracuse. And in 1984, they knocked out an Auburn team led by Charles Barkley.

"Every time we come into an arena, we just take the attitude that the team we're playing doesn't know we're good," Richmond forward Nick Patrick said.

The Spiders sang "Uh-oh, they don't know!" in unison, chanting the phrase over and over as the chords poured through the walls and into the halls underneath the MCI Center.

And while Richmond was stunning South Carolina, Cincinnati got all it could handle from Northern Arizona in the West Regional.

The second-seeded Bearcats trailed most of the game and avoided an upset on D'Juan Baker's 3-pointer with 3.6 seconds left.

"This brought us back to reality," Baker said. "We can't take anyone for granted. It was a wake-up call today."

In other first-round games in the East, top-ranked North Carolina routed Navy 88-52, UNC-Charlotte beat Illinois-Chicago 77-62 and Washington edged Xavier 69-68.

In the West Regional, West Virginia routed Temple 82-52, Maryland beat Utah State 82-68, and Illinois defeated South Alabama 64-51.

Richmond won with defense, holding South Carolina scoreless for the final 79 seconds and getting the upset when a driving shot and subsequent tap-in attempt by South Carolina's BJ McKie missed.

McKie scored 24 points for South Carolina (23-8), which hasn't won an NCAA first-round game in four tries since 1973.

South Carolina coach Eddie Fogler said he expected the press to write that the Gamecocks choked.

"I don't know. Maybe we did," he said.

Richmond, which now has won as a 13th, 14th and 15th seed, led 40-31 with 17 minutes left. South Carolina responded with a 10-0 run as the Spiders went seven minutes without a basket.

In Thursday's late games, Princeton played UNLV and Michigan State met Eastern Michigan in the East Regional at Hartford. At Washington, it was Indiana vs. Oklahoma and Connecticut vs. Fairleigh Dickinson.

In the West, it was Tennessee vs. Illinois State and Arizona vs. Nicholls State at Sacramento; and Utah vs. San Francisco and Arkansas vs. Nebraska at Boise.

The Mideast and South regionals begin Friday.

North Carolina 88, Navy 52

At Hartford, the top-ranked Tar Heels (31-3) broke open the game with a 19-2 second-half run against the Midshipmen (19-11). All-American Antawn Jamison led North Carolina with 17 points and 14 rebounds.

It was the Tar Heels' first tournament game since 1959 without Dean Smith, who retired as coach before the season. [bf]UNC-Charlotte 77, Ill.-Chicago 62[nf]

DeMarco Johnson had 30 points and 10 rebounds and Sean Colson added 18 points and 13 assists for UNCC (20-10), which gets its first-ever shot at North Carolina on Sunday.

Anthony Coomes scored 19 points for ninth-seeded UIC (22-6).

Washington 69, Xavier 68

At Washington, Deon Luton's 17-foot jumper with 11.2 seconds to play gave the Huskies their first NCAA victory since 1984.

Luton, who missed two free throws when Washington (19-9) led 67-66 with 53.2 seconds left, hit his game-winner after Gary Lumpkin's two free throws had given Xavier (22-8) the lead with 42.5 remaining.

Cincinnati 65, N. Arizona 62

Baker was 4-for-14 from the field before sinking his jumper as the Bearcats (27-5) avoided becoming only the fourth No. 2 to lose to a No. 15 seed.

After Baker's shot, Kawika Akina, the quick Hawaiian point guard who had seven steals, tossed up a desperate 3-pointer at the buzzer that bounced off the front of the rim.

Ross Land and Casey Frank had 13 apiece for the Lumberjacks (21-8).

West Virginia 82, Temple 52

The 10th-seeded Mountaineers (23-8) started with a 9-0 run and Temple never got close in a matchup of teams that were regular Atlantic 10 rivals before West Virginia moved to the Big East.

Jarrod West scored 15 for West Virginia and Brent Solheim added 13. Pepe Sanchez led the Owls (21-9) with 15. [bf]Illinois 64, South Alabama 51[nf]

At Sacramento, Calif., the Fighting Illini used 12 steals and tenacious inside defense to force 19 turnovers.

Kevin Turner had 18 points and Matt Heldman added 15 as Illinois earned a second-round game against Maryland.

Toby Madison had 19 points to lead South Alabama (21-7).