North Carolina's back court of senior Ed Cota and freshman Joseph Forte had its third straight impressive outing, leading the fourth-ranked Tar Heels over No. 22 Purdue, 90-75, last night in the championship game of the Maui Invitational in Lahaina, Hawaii.
The two took turns coming up with big plays as the Tar Heels (3-0) erased a 39-34 halftime deficit and took control midway through the second half. North Carolina won the eight-team tournament for the first time in three championship game appearances.
Forte had 24 points in his college debut against Southern California--the most ever scored by a Tar Heel in his first game--and 17 in the semifinal win over Georgetown. This time, he had 21 points, including 16 in the second half, and was voted the tournament MVP.
Cota finished with 15 points and seven assists--his sixth assist made him North Carolina's career leader with 769, one more than Kenny Smith had from 1983 to '87.
The win was the third in as many years for the Tar Heels over the Boilermakers (2-1) in preseason tournaments. They beat them in the championship game of the Great Alaska Shootout two years ago and in the semifinals of the Preseason NIT last year.
STANFORD 72, CS BAKERSFIELD 31: Freshman Casey Jacobsen had 15 points and the No. 9 Cardinal opened a 27-point halftime lead against the visiting Roadrunners, who were playing a Division I opponent for the first time in 13 years.
Ryan Mendez added 13 points as Stanford (4-0) warmed up for its showdown Saturday against No. 2 Auburn at the John Wooden Classic in Anaheim, Calif. Freshman center Curtis Borchardt had a school-record six blocks for Stanford.
Ron Selleaze had 12 points for CS Bakersfield (1-2), which has never beaten a Pac-10 opponent. Lovell Brown, the Roadrunners' top scorer last season, returned from an ankle sprain but was held scoreless in 13 minutes.
The Cardinal played without Mark Madsen, who strained his right hamstring in the second half of a season-opening win over Duke. Madsen has not played since that game, and is expected to be sidelined at least until mid-December.
TENNESSEE 79, UNC ASHEVILLE 63: Host Tennessee (2-0) went on a 10-4 run over the first six minutes of the second half to finally put away the Bulldogs (0-3).
Tennessee extended its home nonconference winning streak to 17 games, dating from 1996. Green improved to 2-0 against UNC Asheville, where he spent 13 years as a player and assistant coach and nine years as a head coach.