They played the first X-rated basketball game in the history of the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament yesterday.
Fortunately, most parents rushed their children out of Capital Centre long before Virginia finished stomping Georgia Tech, 76-47, to advance to a semifinal match with Maryland tonight at 7 o'clock.
This one resembled a basketball game for about seven minutes. After that, it deteriorated rapidly as Tech (4-23) lost for the 13th straight time. Top-seeded Virginia, ranked fourth nationally, is now 25-2 and glad to have this debacle behind it.
"It was one of those game where we go out and win by 30 points and look bad doing it," Virginia guard Jeff Jones said. "And you have to be careful to keep playing hard. If you relax, you might get hurt."
Turning one's back on Georgia Tech can also be dangerous.The most noted of the Yellow Jacket tough guys is 6-foot-8 center Lee Goza. In January, Goza spit on Ralph Sampson. Yesterday, he settled for a punch in the stomach, long after the game had ceased to be a contest.
Tech actually led briefly, 4-1, three minutes into the game. But from the 17:10 mark until the 2:15 mark of the first half the only field goal the hapless Jackets sank came on a goaltending call. During that period the score went from 4-1 to 28-10, the only interruption in the massacre being the first Sampson-Goza incident of the day.
It came with 10:51 left in the half and the Cavaliers leading, 9-6. Sampson tied Goza up for a jump ball and some elbows came up. Sampson went toward Goza and words were exchanged. Disgusted, Sampson took the ball and flipped it in the general direction of the TelScreen overhead.
That earned him a technical foul and Stu Lyon promptly missed the free throw. In the meantime, Coach Terry Holland was raging. He also drew a technical. This time Lyon hit one of two to make it 9-7. On the ensuing possession Fred Hall, Georgia Tech's leading scorer with 17 points, made a free throw.
That made it 9-8. During the next 8:30 Tech got two more foul shots from Hall. Meanwhile, Sampson, who ended with 20 points, and Jeff Lamp, who had 18, were scoring all over the place. By halftime it was 34-14.
It got ugly again with 8:20 to play. First, Sampson, clearly frustrated, elbowed Goza in the head. Goza thought about that for a second, turned and punched Sampson in the stomach while Sampson was dunking the ball.
As Sampson came down, Tech guard Stu Lyon got tangled with him. Confused, Sampson thought it was Lyon who had punched him and went after him. By the time bodies were separated, Sampson had his second technical for shoving Lyon while the ball was dead. He made his two foul shots for the Goza punch and then, in an act of mercy for all involved, Sampson and Goza retired for the day.
"He was pushing, shoving, punching and biting all day," Sampson said. "Before the game, I said to him, 'let's have a good one,' but he didn't want to play it that way."
Naturally, Goza's version was different. "It was exactly the same thing that happened in Atlanta," he said. "Down there, Ralph Sampson elbowed me in the head and I spit on him. Today, he elbowed me in the head and I didn't spit on him. But I'll say one thing, if he ever spit on me nobody would say nothing about it."
Told that a TV replay showed him punching Sampson, Goza said, "Well, y'all will just have to look at the film on that."
When it was over, with perhaps 3,000 of the original 19,035 remaining, Goza went over to talk to Holland. "He told me that it goes both ways, that he did some things and Ralph did some things," Holland said.
And what, Holland was asked, did he say in reply?
He might have added good riddance.