OUT THE BACK DOOR

December 30, 1996

When Pete Carril announced his retirement in March, after 29
years as Princeton's basketball coach, he said he was leaving
because he couldn't get through to his players anymore. Then, in
the first round of the NCAA tournament, those players gave
Carril a parting gift that made him look like a fool.

The shot that beat defending champion UCLA ended Princeton's
excruciating string of near misses in the tournament throughout
Carril's tenure. But that basket also upbraided the 65-year-old
coach, who was always carping that the generation gap had opened
into an unfordable chasm. During a timeout with 20.8 seconds to
play and the score tied at 41, Carril told freshman forward Gabe
Lewullis, his youngest regular, precisely what to do: If his
defender, UCLA's Charles O'Bannon, failed to be fooled by a
backdoor cut to the basket, Lewullis was to circle back to the
wing and try again. Sure enough, O'Bannon covered the first
rush. But Lewullis just as surely did as he had been told. The
bounce pass from the high post, by center Steve Goodrich, was so
well executed that Lewullis might have been flustered by its
beauty. Yet the freshman took it, went up strong and delivered a
chaste kiss. The defending champs were beaten 43-41.

NCAA tournament games have turned on sudden dunks (Lorenzo
Charles) and dramatic free throws (Rumeal Robinson), on
half-court heaves (U.S. Reed), feathery threes (Scotty Thurman)
and coast-to-coast scoops (Danny Ainge and Tyus Edney). But in
this instance the videotape jockeys reran and the beblazered
analysts dissected and the disbelieving fans beheld a shot that
honored all the workaday passing and cutting that had gone
before it.

All hail the pebble in the slingshot. All hail the simple layup.

COLOR PHOTO: DAVID E. KLUTHO [Back view of Pete Carril walking towards Princeton University basketball players]

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)