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Final Four Notebook

March 28, 1999

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) _ Ohio State is still searching for No. 12.

No, Scoonie Penn wasn’t missing during Saturday night’s national semifinal between the Buckeyes and Connecticut. He scored 11 points and had four assists in 40 minutes, but had to do it in a new jersey.

The Big Ten co-player of the year wore a number other than 12 for the first time since transferring to Ohio State from Boston College. His usual red road jersey was either lost, stolen and inadvertently left at home.

The Buckeyes, a self-described superstitious bunch, aren’t sure what happened.

``When he got to the arena, the red 12 was not in his bag,″ Ohio State sports information director Gerry Emig said. ``We don’t know if it didn’t get back here from Columbus or whether packing his stuff to come to the game it fell out.″

Asked if maybe the jersey had been stolen, Emig said: ``That’s a possibility.″

The No. 35 Penn wore is the Buckeyes’ so-called ``blood jersey.″ The NCAA requires every team to carry at least one extra jersey in case a player gets blood on his regular uniform.

The last time Penn wore a number other than 12 was when he was No. 11 at Boston College two years ago.

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FREQUENT FLYERS: With Duke’s men’s and women’s team in the running for national titles this weekend, it’s an extremely busy time for school president Dr. Nan Keohane and athletic director Joe Alleva, who are traveling between St. Petersburg and San Jose, site of the women’s finals.

Keohane and Alleva flew to California from Florida on Friday to watch the women’s team beat Georgia to advance to Sunday’s championship game. They returned Saturday on a private chartered jet in time for the men’s semifinal against Michigan State.

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PROUD PARENTS: Slobodan Savovic, Ohio State’s freshman guard, believes he is the first Serbian to play in the Final Four. His parents, who had only seen tapes of his college games, planned to watch the live telecast of the semifinals in Montenegro, Yugoslavia. Savovic said he spoke with his parents _ Nikola and Olivera _ during the week, but declined to answer reporters questions about the NATO bombing of the Balkans. The 6-foot-6 guard, slowed late in the season by an Achilles injury, has a tattoo that reads: ``When is it going to end?″ Savovic finished with seven points and three rebounds.

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FEELING BETTER: Connecticut forward Kevin Freeman, who practiced only one time the past week because of an ear infection, started for the Huskies and had five points and seven rebounds in 22 minutes. He took antibiotics and rested early in the week before joining his teammates for practice on Friday.

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