Most outstanding player James Worthy iced North Carolina's title win over Georgetown with a
The day before the championship game,
Thompson got up at a press conference and
told the media he was living with a deep-
seeded fear that somebody out there might
be trying to kill his young star.
Two weeks prior, on the day before his
team was to leave for an NCAA second-
round game in Logan, Utah, Thompson
said, someone placed a frightening call to
the university switchboard.
"Some guy called and asked for Pat's
room number," Thompson recalled. "The
secretary there asked him, 'Why?' Then,
she told him, 'We can't give that out.' And,
the guy said, 'Because I wanted to kill him.
I want to kill him.' "
The Georgetown operator immediately
contacted athletics director Frank Rienzo
and the security department. Thompson
found out about the phone call when Rienzo
and a security guard came running into
practice to tell him the news.
Thompson acted quickly, calling a team
meeting and telling the players "we have received some threatening phone calls."
He never told Ewing the threats were directed specifically toward him. Instead he
tried to mask the problem by pulling the
entire team out of the dorms and registering
them at the Key Bridge Marriott in Alexandria, Virginia. Georgetown left for Utah the
next day, and Thompson was so concerned,
he had the Hoyas stay 45 miles away in Bi-
loxi, Utah, all week.
Thompson even supplied Ewing with a
personal bodyguard in the locker room. If
Ewing was concerned, he did not show it.
Ewing was an ominous presence the entire
game. He was called for goaltending on
North Carolina's first four field goals and a
total of five times in the first half. There
was, as Thompson, later pointed out, a
method to his madness.
"I told Pat I wanted North Carolina to be
aware of him under the basket." Thompson
said. "He did not get any (goaltending
calls) in the second half."
North Carolina never physically put the
ball in the basket until forward Matt
Dougherty scored on a driving layup with
11:53 to play. Ironically, Ewing was on the
bench at the time, taking a breather.
Worthy, who scored 18 of his points in
the first half, was the one reason Georgetown had just a 32-31 lead at the half. He
shot so well when he got the ball in the
middle that he forced Thompson to switch
out of his zone and into a man-to-man.
The Hoyas still controlled the game most
of the way and had control of its own destiny until the final seconds.
Ewing, who played the final 5:32 with
four personals, was almost good enough to
get the Hoyas over the hump. He gave
Georgetown the momentum it needed to get
back in the game after North Carolina had
taken a 61-58 lead on a driving layup out of
the spread by Jordan with 3:02 to play.
Ewing came right back and nailed a soft
15-footer from the lane to pull the Hoyas
Then North Carolina, as expected, went
to its four-corners delay. Ironically, the Tar
Heels nearly self-destructed because of it.
With just 1:19 left, Eric Smith fouled Doherty, sending him to the line in a one-and-
one situation. Doherty missed the first part,
though, and Ewing ripped down the rebound, kicking the ball out to Floyd on the
Floyd, who finished with 18 points,
pushed the ball up court, then cleanly beat
Black for a nine-foot jump shot that sailed
through the net with 52 seconds left.
North Carolina dribbled into the front-
court, then called timeout with 32 seconds
left to set up for the final shot — a swing
jumper for Jordan. "The play was designed
for Mike to shoot a jumper," Black said.
"They were in a 1-3-1 matchup zone and he
should have had about a 15-footer after we
passed it around a couple times."
Jordan took his time, then stuck the shot.
"I was kinda surprised they called that
play for me," Jordan said. "I still can't believe it, but I'm so glad I hit it when it did
come to me."
Jordan, who only a year before was
watching North Carolina play Indiana for
the NCAA championship on television, began envisioning what it might be like to be a
hero on the bus ride over to the Superdome
"I was just thinking, 'What if I had to
take the last shot? Win or lose?' And, it
happened." If North Carolina was in blue
heaven, Georgetown, which had played so
well, was bitterly disappointed.
"I told Freddie I've loused up in big
games a lot more than he has, and I made
more mistakes tonight than I care to tell you
about. But, he'll be okay. We'll all be
okay," Thompson said.
There was some speculation later about
whether Georgetown should have called a
timeout — once it got the ball into the front-
"Somebody asked about the time-outs,"
Thompson said, "but it's always easy to
coach from the sidelines. If I had called
timeout, I didn't know what defense Dean
would have called, so what play I would
have called would not have made any difference. We were in great position, but James
Worthy stole the ball on the perimeter, and
that's exactly where we would want an outstanding player like him to be."
This time, Worthy gambled, and rolled a
lucky seven for his coach. $