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As expected, Dean Smith got his record-tying victory last night. It came in an unexpected way, though.
Smith tied Adolph Rupp as the winningest NCAA basketball coach when North Carolina beat Fairfield 82-74 in the opening round of the East Regional. But Smith's 876th victory wasn't nearly as easy as everyone predicted.
Fairfield (11-19), which had the worst record in the 64-team field and no starter over 6-foot-6, made a strong bid to become the first No. 16 seed ever to beat a No. 1 seed in the tournament.
The Stags led by seven at halftime and stayed with the Tar Heels (25-6) until the final minute before the pro-North Carolina crowd in Winston-Salem. The victory gave Smith an 876-253 record in his 36th season at North Carolina. Rupp had an 876-190 record in 41 years at Kentucky.
Vince Carter led the Tar Heels with 22 points, while 7-foot-3 Serge Zwikker added 19. Greg Francis led Fairfield with 26 points.
Coll. Charleston 75, Maryland 66
Stacy Harris scored 22 points as the College of Charleston upset Maryland, making it the ninth straight year a No. 12 seed has beaten a fifth-seeded team.
Charleston (29-2), making only its second NCAA tournament appearance, also extended the nation's longest winning streak to 23 games with its first tourney victory.
Keith Booth, Maryland's leading scorer, finished with 18 points.
California 55, Princeton 52
Tony Gonzalez scored all five of Cal's points in the final minute.
Gonzalez gave the Bears the lead for good at 52-50 with a fadeaway 12-foot jumper with 58 seconds left.
He made the front end of a 1-and-1 with 33 seconds left for a three-point lead. Brian Earl scored on a backdoor cut with 15 seconds left to bring the 12th-seeded Tigers (24-4) within one, but Gonzalez made two free throws with 14 seconds left to make it 55-52.
Princeton, which knocked defending national champion UCLA out in the first round last year, had a final chance. But Gabe Lewullis' 3-point attempt with three seconds left was blocked by Alfred Grigsby.
Purdue 83, Rhode Island 76, OT
Brad Miller had a career-high 31 points and eight rebounds and Purdue scored the first six points in overtime.
Freshman Brian Cardinal, whose 3-pointer with 16 seconds left in regulation forced OT, hit the first basket in the extra period, and Purdue (18-11) never trailed again.
The Rams (20-9) had their chances to win in regulation. But Tyson Wheeler's leaner bounced off, and Michael Andersen missed the follow before the buzzer.
Colorado 80, Indiana 62
Chauncey Billups scored 24 points as Colorado handed Indiana an opening-round defeat for the third straight year.
Billups, a second-team All-American, scored 20 points in the first half as Colorado built a 46-31 lead. The Buffaloes (22-9), making their first NCAA appearance in 28 years, went on to beat Indiana (22-11) by 18 points, matching the Hoosier's worst NCAA tournament defeat in 71 games.
Villanova 101, LIU 91
LIU, the nation's highest scoring team, got a lesson in fast-paced basketball. The fourth-seeded Wildcats (24-9) used an 8-0 run to end the first half and a 19-1 barrage in the opening three and a half minutes of the second half to blitz the Blackbirds.
Freshman Tim Thomas had 28 points and 15 rebounds, while Jason Lawson added 21 points, 12 rebounds and seven blocks. Charles Jones, the nation's leading scorer, had 37 to lead No. 13 seed LIU.
Kansas 78, Jackson St. 64
Scot Pollard, coming back from a broken foot, grabbed a career-high 19 rebounds to go with six blocks and 12 points in top-ranked Kansas' victory.
Pollard, All-American Raef LaFrentz and Paul Pierce overwhelmed 16th-seeded Jackson State. LaFrentz had 18 points, 14 rebounds and three blocks, and Pierce had 19 points, 13 rebounds and four blocks as Kansas (33-1) had a 61-27 rebounding advantage.
Arizona 65, S. Alabama 57
Arizona outscored South Alabama 22-4 in the final seven and a half minutes to overcome a 10-point deficit.
Miles Simon scored nine of his 11 points during that late stretch. The rally allowed Arizona (20-9) to avoid losing in the first round for the fourth time in six years.
Cincinnati 86, Butler 69
Darnell Burton carried the Bearcats until All-American Danny Fortson got untracked. Burton scored 19 points, including five 3-pointers, and Cincinnati used a 22-5 first-half run to beat Butler.
Fortson led the third-seeded Bearcats (26-7) with 24 points--16 in the second half.
Iowa St. 69, Illinois St. 57
Kelvin Cato scored a career-high 29 points, had 12 rebounds and broke a Midwest Regional record with eight blocks, leading Iowa State. Dedric Willoughby added 21 points for the sixth-seeded Cyclones (21-8).
Rico Hill led Illinois State (24-6) with 14 points.
Xavier 80, Vanderbilt 68
James Posey and Gary Lumpkin scored Xavier's final 20 points as the Musketeers held off Vanderbilt. Posey finished with a career-high 22 points and Lumpkin had 16.
Austin Bates scored 21 for Vandy and Drew Maddux had 16. Pax Whitehead, Vandy's leading scorer at 15.8 ppg, was held without a field goal until midway through the second half and finished with eight points.
UCLA 109, Charleston So. 75
UCLA scored the first 11 points of the game and Jelany McCoy and J.R Henderson had 21 points apiece for the Bruins.
The Bruins were in control from the start against the 15th-seeded Buccaneers (22-7). Brett Larrick led Charleston Southern with 32 points.
Boston College 73, Valparaiso 66
Bevan Thomas came off the bench to score 11 of his 16 points in the second half as BC overcame a long-range shooting barrage by Bryce Drew. Danya Abrams also scored 16 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for the fifth-seeded Eagles.
Drew, the sharpshooting son of coach Homer Drew, scored 27 points, including 8-of-12 3-pointers. But he was shut down by a smothering box-and-one defense through most of the second half, when he was held to eight points.
St. Joseph's 75, Pacific 65
Rashid Bey and freshman Arthur Davis hit consecutive 3-pointers that helped St. Joseph's hold off Pacific.
After Pacific pulled to 52-50 with 7:20 left, Davis hit a 3-pointer and Bey followed with another off a turnover to swing the momentum back to St. Joseph's (25-6), making its first NCAA tournament appearance in 11 years.
Kentucky 92, Montana 54
Cameron Mills scored 19 points, his third consecutive career high, as the defending national champions routed Montana.
Wayne Turner also scored 19 for Kentucky (31-4), while Ron Mercer added 16. Bob Olson and Ryan Dick scored 10 apiece for Montana (21-11).
Iowa 73, Virginia 60
Guy Rucker scored 19 points and Andrew Woolridge added 17 as Iowa coach Tom Davis improved to 10-0 in first-round games.
Iowa (22-9) never trailed and led by as many as 22 points in the second half.
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