Sunday, January 14, 2007

Tar Heels Trumped; Gators should retake #1 spot on Monday

Saturday's Top 25 action produced a number of expected wins, but in the ACC, Maryland ensured that there were no more undefeated teams by topping Clemson, 92-87 and one very big upset of top-ranked North Carolina by Virginia Tech, which improved to 13-4 overall and 3-0 in conference with a 94-88 win.

Clemson entered the Comcast Center in College Park, MD with a 17-0 record and the claim of being the only Division 1 team without a loss, but left on the short end of the score as the Terrapins shot 63% from the field and knocked down 25 of 31 free throws. Junior forward James Mays led the scoring with 23, but it was not enough to overcome the red-hot home cooking by Maryland. The Terps improved to 15-3 and will likely re-emerge into the Top 25.

In Blacksburg, VA, the North Carolina Tar Heels were victimized by their own poor shooting and the Hokies defense and will probably fall in tomorrow's rankings as #2 Florida continued to roll through the SEC. North Carolina shot just 44% from the floor, including 8-26 3-pointers. The Hokies took control early in the first half and held the Tar Heels at bay the rest of the way. Virginia Tech, paced by senior guard Zabian Dowdell's 23 points, hit 27-38 free throws to the Tar Heels' 16-29.

Ohio State 68 Tennessee 66 - Chris Lofton had 23 points for the Volunteers, but he and Ramar Smith missed key front ends of 1-and-1 free throw situations with less than 30 seconds left in the game and #5 Ohio State improved to 14-3. Center Greg Oden was unstoppable inside, scoring 24 for the Buckeyes on 9-13 shooting plus 6-6 free throws. Other than the foul shooting, the Vols' backcourt completely overwhelmed Ohio State's, but Oden stayed out of foul trouble and was the go-to guy all afternoon.

With the win, Ohio State should cruise through the rest of the month, with home games against Northwestern, Iowa and Michigan State and road tilts at Northwestern and Purdue.

Syracuse 75 Villanova 64 - Demetris Nichols took over midway through the first half and guided the Orangemen to their 3rd Big East victory against one loss. Nichols finished with 23 points, while teammates Darryl Watkins and Terrence Roberts dominated the interior with 28 points between them.

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