North Carolina claims NCAA crown

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 5, 2005

ST. LOUIS (AP) &045; Before the biggest game of his career, Sean May followed the same ritual that served him so well all season.

He had a conversation with his father, who did most of the talking.

&uot;You’ve been playing long enough, you know what you have to do,&uot; Scott May told his son. &uot;You have one shot. You’ll never forget this moment if you get it done.&uot;

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The moment they shared was brief, but Sean May got the message. He made all but one of his 11 shots and scored 26 points in a dominating performance Monday night, controlling the paint and leading North Carolina past Illinois 75-70 for the NCAA championship.

In the process, May forced one of his defenders to foul out and left another with four fouls. And

the burly Tar Heels center left with the Most Outstanding Player award.

No surprise there. May carried North Carolina to the Final Four by averaging 21.5 points and 11.8 rebounds in the tournament, slightly better than his regular-season numbers. In the final, his 26 points matched the total his father scored in the 1976 final, when Scott May and Indiana completed an undefeated season with a victory over Michigan.

&uot;It means a lot, because I tried to live up to my father’s expectations, even though he hasn’t wanted me to,&uot; the younger May said. &uot;It’s very gratifying to know that you set goals for yourself and you’re able to achieve those goals.&uot;

Sean May did beat his old man’s effort in one way &045; he finished with 10 rebounds, two more than Scott May had in his final game.

&uot;We’ll have some fun with that,&uot; Sean May said with a smile.

When May and his teammates arrived in St. Louis, he showed them the videotape from that final 29 years ago, the first time they had seen it together. Perhaps now May can put it away for good, since he has one of his own. Quite a night on his 21st birthday.