Iona Coach Jeff Ruland had a chance to relive a great night from a long time ago. North Carolina Coach Matt Doherty had the worst night of a turnaround season.
Courtney Fields scored 18 points and Iona beat No. 22 North Carolina, 65-56, last night in the opening round of the Holiday Festival in New York, the Gaels' first win over a ranked team in almost 23 years.
The loss kept the Tar Heels from matching last season's win total and Sean May, one of the freshmen who had helped the turnaround, will be out eight to 10 weeks after breaking his foot early in the second half.
The last time Iona beat a ranked team was also at Madison Square Garden, on Feb. 21, 1980, when center Ruland led the Gaels to a 77-60 victory over No. 2 Louisville.
"I don't like to live in the past but I showed them this ring," Ruland said of a memento then-Iona coach Jim Valvano gave the players after that win. "I told them eight guys from Long Island believed that night and beat Louisville. That we did whatever it took and that's what they did tonight. Except for the birth of my three daughters, this is the proudest day of my life."
Iona (5-3) snapped a three-game losing streak by taking advantage of the Tar Heels (7-3) being short-handed and handling their run at the start of the second half.
The Gaels will play Manhattan -- which upset St. John's, 72-65 -- for the title today.
North Carolina, which had to bus from Chapel Hill to New York because of the winter storm that hit the East Coast on Christmas day, was without starter Jawad Williams, who was at the hotel with a stomach virus, and sixth man Melvin Scott, suspended for the game for violating a team rule.
Then, less than 20 seconds into the second half, May injured his left foot and did not return. "I feel bad for Sean," Doherty said of the son of former Indiana all-American Scott May. "There's a 90-95 percent chance he'll be ready for late February."
When May was injured was when Iona took the Tar Heels' best shot of the night.
North Carolina had closed the first half on a 9-2 run to tie it at 27.
The Tar Heels scored the first six points of the second half to go up 33-27, and the crowd sensed they had taken control.
Iona had other ideas as freshman Ricky Soliver, who discarded the mask protecting his broken nose at halftime, scored half the points in an 8-0 run that gave the Gaels the lead for good.
* BOWIE STATE 90, EDINBORO 75: Jon Smith led five players in double figures for the Bulldogs (8-1) in the first round of the Porreco Cup Tournament in Erie, Pa.
Smith scored 21 points, Stephen Moss-Kelley had 19 points and seven rebounds and Tim Washington scored 16 points and grabbed eight rebounds as Bowie State built a 17-point halftime lead. Cornelius McMurray added 10 points and 10 assists and Shawn Hampton came off the bench for 12 points and eight rebounds.
Fallon Stokes scored 18 points and made a key defensive play late in the game to lead Georgia Tech to its first victory over Georgia, with the host Yellow Jackets beating the 24th-ranked Bulldogs, 65-61.
Stokes was falling down when she created a turnover by batting away Kara Braxton's pass after Georgia Tech (9-1) took a 62-61 lead on a layup by Jessica Williams with 1:20 remaining. The teams were playing each other for the 25th time.
* DUKE 92, DETROIT 52: Alana Beard had 27 points and eight rebounds, and the top-ranked Blue Devils' swarming defense forced 30 turnovers at the South Padre Island (Tex.) Shootout. Beard was 9 of 10 from the field and 8 of 9 from the free throw line for Duke (11-0), which put the game away early and led 51-30 at halftime. Duke moved within a victory of matching its best start, 12-0 in 1989.
* SOUTH CAROLINA 57, TEMPLE 39: Jocelyn Penn scored 16 points -- well below her average -- but the No. 18 Lady Gamecocks (9-1) never trailed in Philadelphia. Penn entering the game averaging 28.1 points, second best in the nation. It was the fifth straight defeat for the Owls (4-6), the longest in Dawn Staley's three years as coach.
* STANFORD 80, ARIZONA ST. 63: In the Pac-10 opener for both teams, Azella Perryman had six of her career-high 23 points during a 9-0 run to start the second half for the No. 6 Cardinal (7-1 overall). The visiting Sun Devils are 8-2.
* ARIZONA 83, CALIFORNIA 53: Dee-Dee Wheeler scored a career-high 29 points, and the No. 21 Wildcats tied a school record by shooting 64.3 percent as they opened Pac-10 play with a win on the road.