"I'm voting North Carolina No. 1," said Arkansas Coach Eddie Suttom, moments after his 10th-ranked Razorbacks were defeated, 63-57, by the Tar Heels today in Greensboro Coliseum.
"They've proven to me," said Sutton, "that they can beat anybody."
The third-ranked Tar Heels also proved their defense can win games for them, even with one starter, point guard David Colescott, in the hospital, and another, all-American forward Mike O'Koren, making only one shot and having foul trouble.
Coach Dean Smith said his team was not sharp, but the Heels notched their second victory over a top 10 team in two days, having defeated seventh-ranked Duke Saturday to take over first place in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
This was not a game of thrilling fast breaks, O'Koren slams or Sidney Moncrief flying layups.
It was a game more characterized by Dudley Bradley's defensive containment of Mcncrief, and by Bradley's five steals.
One Bradley steal in the late minutes broke open a contest that had been tied six times and led the rest of the time by Carolina.
Reserve Rich Yonakor had just banged in a 17-footer to break the sixth tie and put Carolina up, 54-52 with 5:36 left. At midcourt, Bradley reached in quickly and stole the ball from Tony Brown, and both sped toward Carolina's hoop.
Bradley went up for the layup and Brown went with him, slapping the ball down with both hands but fouling Bradley in the process. Bradley got off the floor and made both foul shots for a 56-52 lead.
Arkansas turned the ball over on its next possession and Carolina went to the four corners, with O'Koren at the helm.
Colescott usually captains the stall offense, but he caught an elbow in the face early in the Duke game and was admitted to the Duke game and was admitted to the hospital with internal bleeding. Doctors allowed him to take the patches off both eyes today to watch the game on television.
Arkansas broke up the stall by fouling O'Koren who sank both one-and-one foul shots for a 58-52 lead.
O'Koren then picked up his fifth foul and Steve Schall went to the line and missed his first one-and-one shot. Carolina got the ball back for two Yonakor free throws when a foul was called on Moncrief on the rebound.
Carolina, withoug O'Koren and Colescott, then ran the four corners a lit1 tle shakily and truned the ball over twice, allowing Arkansas to pull within three on a Moncrief steal and dunk and a three-point play by Scott Hastings.
That made it 60-57 with 37 seconds left, and the Razorbacks fouled Jimmy Black, a freshman reserve and a 61.5 percent free throw shooter.
Black had made a couple of critical free throws in the late minutes of the Duke game and was being called on to do it again. He had missed the first of a one-and-one prior to Hastings' threepoint play, but this time went right to the line and dropped in both shots with 17 seconds left and salted away the game.
"The first one I went up and though negative things," said Black. "The second one, I thought positive."
Black finished with five points in Carolina's balanced scoring led by Yonakor's 13 and Bradley's 12.
Moncrief, who averages 24.7 points, had 19, hitting seven of eight free throws but scoring just six points in the second half. He was six-of-15 from the floor, hitting primarily when Carolina was in its gambling, sag-off defense. He called Bradley the best defensive player he had ever faced.
"Dudley Bradley was nothing short of sensational," said his coach, Smith.
"Give them credit. They played great defense," Moncrief said of Carolina's switching, dizzying man-zone combinations. "When they needed a point or a break, they got it. We didn't.
"I didn't produce the way I should. I would say they are the toughest team we've faced."
Arkansas fell to 10-2, having lost Friday night to Texas, 66-63. Because of had weather, the team had trouble making flight connections and didn't arrive in Greensboro until two hours before game time. Asked if that was Arkansas' problem, Sutton replied, "I think it was Carolina's defense more than anything else."