Carolina in the NCAA Second Round
March 17, 1990
North Carolina-79 Oklahoma-77
by Rick Brewer, SID Emeritus
AUSTIN, Texas-Rick Fox hit a short bank shot just before the final buzzer, giving North Carolina a 79-77 victory over top-ranked Oklahoma in the second round of the Midwest Regional.
The win sent the Tar Heels into the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament for the 10th straight year.
Fox's winning shot came off an inbounds play under the Carolina basket. King Rice had tied the game by hitting the front end of a one-and-one with 10 seconds remaining. But, his second shot rimmed out and was deflected out of bounds by Oklahoma.
Coach Dean Smith took a timeout to set up the final play. Rice inbounded the ball to Hubert Davis on the left side. He passed to Fox on the right who faked a three-pointer and drove off a screen by Rice for the winning basket.
"When we broke our huddle, Coach Smith told me 'Remember we only need one point, you don't have to take a three,'" said Fox. "I was able to pump fake past the defender and drive by King's screen. I took it strong to the basket and was surprised there was no one there to challenge me."
Carolina led most of the game, but never by more than seven points in the second half. The Sooners took their first lead of the final 12 minutes, 74-73, when William Davis made two free throws with 1:36 on the clock. Fox hit his fifth three-pointer with 55 seconds left to regain the lead, 76-74.
Davis muscled inside for a basket, was fouled and made his free throw for a 77-76 Oklahoma advantage and only 39 seconds remaining. Rice was fouled in a loose ball scramble at the 10-second mark and that led to the closing sequence.
The Tar Heels were plagued by foul trouble. Both Scott Williams and George Lynch fouled out and Fox ended the game with four personals. Because of those foul problems Smith used his four corners attack most of the final six minutes.
"King did a great job of running the offense in that second half," said Smith. "We don't have the record that some of our other teams have had. But, this has been a special group of players. Our coaching staff has great respect for all the work they have put into this season."
Fox had a game-high 23 points. Pete Chilcutt had 17, Kevin Madden added 14 and Rice scored 12.
The Tar Heels improved to 20-10. The Sooners finished their season at 27-5.