Ole Miss-Notre Dame AP Game Notes

March 17, 2001

By DOUG TUCKER
AP Sports Writer

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - They threw up air balls and missed medium-range jumpers. They had layups roll tantalizingly around the rim without going in.

NCAA records do not come easy. Not even embarrassing ones.

Nevertheless, Wake Forest went home from the NCAA Midwest Regional Friday with more than a 79-63 loss to Butler.

The Demon Deacons scored just 10 points in the first half, making only 3-of-25 from the floor. It's the lowest total of any half of any NCAA tournament game since the introduction of the shot clock in 1985-86.

"I never, ever thought of being in a situation like that," said Wake Forest's Rafael Vidauretta. "Not even in my worst nightmare. But that's basketball."

In other first-round action in Kansas City on Friday, No. 3 seed Mississippi survived a scare from 15-seed Iona and prevailed 72-70, No. 2 seed Arizona rolled past Eastern Illinois 101-76, and No. 6 seed Notre Dame led wire-to-wire and beat No. 11 Xavier 83-71.

The Butler players themselves could hardly believe they were ahead 43-10 at halftime.

"I've never seen anything like that before," said center Scott Robisch. "We shot well and we rebounded well, and that was the best defense I've ever seen us play."

In Sunday's second round, Notre Dame will meet Mississippi and Butler will draw Arizona.

Mississippi's Rahim Lockhart played just 15 minutes because of foul trouble and a hard knock he took falling to the floor in the first half. But the muscular center sank the go-ahead free throw with 50 seconds left, then made the defensive play of the game.

"This is exactly what we wanted," Lockhart said. "And we just took care of it."

With 1.8 seconds to go, Lockhart stripped Iona's Courtney Fields of the ball in the lane and Jason Holmes then hit a free throw in a back-and-forth affair that was close in every way but the seeding.

"My man broke open and left me," Lockhart said. "But I was able to get back to him. I knocked the ball out. Fortunately, Holmes was there to finish it off."

Ole Miss coach Rod Barnes tipped his cap to Iona coach Jeff Ruland.

"To be honest, I feel I got outcoached," Barnes said. "But our kids took care of it. We knew they were going to play zone. That wasn't a surprise. But I just didn't teach our guys and prepare them on what will happen and when to recognize if they're in the matchup or the 3-2 zone. After the half we adjusted."

Gilbert Arenas scored 21 points to lead Arizona and Michael Wright added 17 for the Wildcats (24-7), who had five players in double figures.

Surviving an early surge by inspired underdog Eastern Illinois, the tall and talented Wildcats made sure there would be no repeat of Thursday's No. 15 seed upsetting a No. 2.

"Yesterday we knew there were a lot of teams going down, a lot of upsets out there," said Loren Woods, who scored 17 points and also had nine rebounds and six blocked shots.

"We knew Eastern Illinois was capable of an upset because they have those really good 3-point shooters. They had guys who can score on the outside, but we have guys who can score on the outside and the inside."

Notre Dame star Troy Murphy had a tough shooting night, hitting only 6 of 17 for 19 points. But David Graves more than made up the slack, hitting all seven of his shots for 20 points as the Irish broke a three-game losing streak.

 

 

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