UNC Archive


Tar Heels falter to lose second straight

North Carolina led by 15 in the first half and by nine at the half but faltered in the second half as Notre Dame scored on turnovers and hit a slew of free throws to beat the No. 2 Tar Heels 80-76.

The Irish scored 19 points off 13 Tar Heel turnovers while Carolina didn’t capitalize on the mere two Notre Dame turnovers. At one point in the second half, Notre Dame hit 20 straight free throws to erase a Tar Heel lead and then hold off the visitors.

The Irish got to the line 38 times, hitting 31 of them, while the Tar Heels shot just 21 free throws, hitting 16. UNC coach Roy Williams didn’t blame the officiating, he blamed the fact that his players weren’t getting into position and were reaching out to foul.

It was the first time that the Heels have lost back-to-back games. Coach Williams said the Heels aren’t going pack it in after a couple of losses but “right now I’m extremely frustrated.”

He said he didn’t coach well and that his team didn’t put forth the effort and the intensity that Notre Dame did. In fact, the Irish scored 10 more points off offensive rebounds than did the Tar Heels – usually a UNC strength. “We have to compete when it’s tough, not just when it’s easy,” he said.

Marcus Paige broke out of a shooting slump as hit five of eight threes and ended with a game-high 21 points. A long three with 8:08 left in the first half gave Carolina a commanding 26-14 lead. He hit another less than five minutes later and Joel Berry folloed it with a three of his own to give the Heels a 37-22 lead.

An 8-2 Notre Dame run over the last two minutes of the first half cut the margin to nine at 39-30 at the break.

An 18-9 run over the first eight minutes of the second half tied the score for the Irish at 48-all. It went back and forth over the next five minutes but, with Notre Dame up 65-64, UNC’s Justin Jackson missed an open layup and the Tar Heels never led or tied again.

For more on the game and a box score, please click here.


UNC cold, sloppy in loss at Louisville

uncjohnsonlouisvilleLouisville got the tempo it wanted as North Carolina had an off shooting night and turned the ball over a season-high 16 times, leading to a 71-65 Tar Heel loss, breaking a 12-win streak.

The Tar Heels are used to scoring in the 80s but struggled to get 27 points in the first half and didn’t have the shooting touch to come back once the Cardinals broke open a close game over the last 10 minutes.

Carolina shot just 34.5 percent from the field and Marcus Paige continued his three-point shooting woes hitting just one of six. Joel Berry, who had been carrying the load from beyond the arc, managed just one of five from three. The Tar Heels as a team was just three of 17 in three pointers.

The Tar Heels trailed 49-47 when Louisville’s Damion Lee took over the game. First he hit a quick three from the top of the key and less than a minute later he banged in one from the wing. After a long two by Trey Lewis, Louisville had its largest lead to that point at 58-51 with 7:05 left.

The Cardinals got the lead up to eight before Carolina started creeping back in it. A Paige steal ended in a Justin Jackson layup to cut it to 65-61 with 1:55 to play. Lewis penetrated and scored on a driving layup with 1:42 left to give Louisville a six-point cushion.

With 1:11 left, an aggressive Carolina offense managed a bucket by Jackson, who was fouled, but he missed the opportunity to make it a one possession game when he failed to hit the free throw.

Berry did hit a pair of free throws with 35 seconds left to pull the Heels within a bucket at 67-65. But, with 26 seconds left, Paige fouled one of Louisville’s best free throw shooters in Lewis and he hit both ends of a one-and-one to make it 69-65.

Carolina had four good looks – a Berry layup, a Berry open three and two tips by Isaiah Hicks – but nothing fell.

UNC coach Roy Williams summed up the game: “We couldn’t get the ball to go in the bucket for us.”

On the other hand, Louisville shot 53 percent in the second half and finished at 43 percent. Lee led Louisville, coming off a loss to Virginia, with 24 points as the Cardinals improve to 18-4 and 7-2, just a game behind the Tar Heels, in the ACC.

Jackson, with 16, and Johnson, with 15, were the only Tar Heels in double figures.

The Tar Heels, now 18-3 and 8-1 in the ACC, travel to Notre Dame Saturday.

For more on the game, including a box score, please click here.


CapitalSportsNC articles on Roy Williams win national award

Clifton Barnes, the owner of CapitalSportsNC.com, has won a national award for writing. A series of columns on issues surrounding University of North Carolina basketball coach Roy Williams won an Award of Excellence from the DC area-based Communications Concepts through its 2015 Awards for Publication Excellence competition. Barnes, a native of Rocky Mount who has lived in Cary since 1996, is a UNC-Chapel Hill journalism and political science grad. The columns, which appeared here on CapitalSportsNC.com, address Williams’ role or lack thereof in the academic scandal at UNC, his official support of the Affordable Healthcare Act and his intentions to […]

Clifton Barnes, the owner of CapitalSportsNC.com, has won a national award for writing.

A series of columns on issues surrounding University of North Carolina basketball coach Roy Williams won an Award of Excellence from the DC area-based Communications Concepts through its 2015 Awards for Publication Excellence competition.



Barnes, a native of Rocky Mount who has lived in Cary since 1996, is a UNC-Chapel Hill journalism and political science grad.

The columns, which appeared here on CapitalSportsNC.com, address Williams’ role or lack thereof in the academic scandal at UNC, his official support of the Affordable Healthcare Act and his intentions to coach UNC for six to 10 more years.

Judges were impressed with how Barnes delved into the issues in ways that other writers have not and how he wasn’t afraid to be politically incorrect.

John De Lellis of Communications Concepts says competition was intense as there were nearly 2,000 entries with 12 winners in the column-writing category. Barnes was the only winner from North Carolina.

CapitalSportsNC.com has now won awards three years in a row. Articles from all the top media outlets and sports teams in the Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill area are featured on the website along with videos, tweets and original sports commentary.

The winning entries can be accessed here on CapitalSportsNC.com at http://capitalsportsnc.com/?p=7733, http://capitalsportsnc.com/?p=7232 and http://capitalsportsnc.com/?p=6911.

Barnes, who has won more than 70 journalism awards, served as director of communications for the N.C. Bar Association from 1987 to 2002 and, before that, was a newspaper writer and editor. He also worked part-time for McClatchy on numerous community newspaper websites.

Today he is a freelance writer, editor and Web developer who owns several websites including cb3media.com. He is currently writing a book on the University of North Carolina’s Order of the Bell Tower. Barnes is also credited with the idea for the Town of Cary’s Hometown Spirit Award, given each year since 2009 to honor those who promote small town values.

Along with his wife Andrea, he raises their nine-year-old son Will Griffin.


Heels rebound to win after blowing lead

uncroyvtRebounding and forced turnovers allowed North Carolina to eek out a 75-70 win at Virginia Tech after the Tar Heels had blown a 20-point first half lead. (1/24)

The Tar Heels led 36-16 with less than six minutes left in the first half before going cold. The Hokies went on an 18-3 run to cut the halftime margin to five at 39-34 and it stayed close the rest of the way.

A 14-footer by Nate Britt in transition put Carolina up 57-49 midway through the second half but Virginia Tech didn’t go away. In fact, on a day that the Tar Heels had trouble shooting from outside, the Hokies rallied to take 61-59 lead after a 6-0 spurt.

Marcus Paige, who seemed gun shy shooting the ball, found Brice Johnson for a bucket to tie and Joel Berry followed it up with a three at the end of the shot clock to put the Heels up 64-61 with 6:52 left.

While the Tar Heels never trailed again, Virginia Tech did tie the game at 68 on free throws by Kerry Blackshear with 2:44 left after Paige missed the front end of a one-and-one and Kennedy Meeks fouled on the rebound.

Johnson tipped an inbounds pass and was fouled with 2:02 left. He end both ends of a one-and-one to give Carolina a 70-68 lead.

A floating Tar Heel zone defense confounded the Hokies and Carolina was able to force a jump ball that gave possession back to the Heels. Berry found Justin Jackson with a backdoor pass with 1:10 left.

Carolina survived a Paige traveling violation and Jackson’s fifth foul as the Heels hit three of four free throws down the stretch for the 75-70 win.

UNC’s Johnson led the way with 19 points and 17 rebounds while Berry was the only other Tar Heel in double figures with 13. The Tar Heels shot only 38 percent and managed just three of 23 from three-point land. Berry had all three threes.

“I’m not displeased with the shot selection,” UNC coach Roy Williams said. “But if you are going to shoot the ball, you’ve got to make some every now and then.”

On a positive note, the Tar Heels outrebounded the Hokes 49 to 33 and forced 15 turnovers, 12 of which came in the form of steals. Carolina had 15 more offensive rebounds than Virginia Tech and took 24 more shots.

“Rebounding was the single factor that helped us win the game,” Coach Williams said.

Johnson said the Tar Heels remained composed after losing the 20-point lead.

Zach LeDay led the Hokies, now 12-8 overall and 4-3 in the ACC, with 17 points.

The Tar Heels, now 17-2 and 7-0 in the ACC, return home for a Saturday matchup with Boston College.

For a box score and to read about Marcus Paige’s slump, please click here.


Johnson leads Heels over Wake by 15

uncjohnsonwakeIt was a frustrating night for Roy Williams as the Tar Heels gave up easy buckets and a frustrating night for both UNC and Wake Forest fans as ESPN had technical problems that blanked out most of the first half.

But ultimately, UNC’s Brice Johnson led the Tar Heels to their 10th straight win with 27 points and 11 rebounds – his 10th double-double of the season – en route to an 83-68 victory at home against Wake Forest.

The Tar Heels led by 16 at the half, 46-30, and the Deacons could only cut into the margin by one in the second half despite Carolina shooting a season-low for a half at 26 percent.

The lead for much of the first half hovered around six to eight points until the Tar Heels broke it open with a 12-0 over a two-minute period late in the half. Nate Britt provided a three-point shot during the run and Theo Pinson got a three the old-fashioned way with a driving layup and free throw.

A 7-0 UNC run in just over a minute in the second half pushed the lead to a game-high 27 points at 64-37. During that run, Joel Berry sank a couple of free throws after Wake coach Danny Manning picked up a technical.

During a particularly sloppy portion of the game, Wake Forest outscored the Heels 16-5 to get within 16 but the lead swelled back to 21 before the Carolina subs came in and the Heels settled for the 15-point win.

UNC coach Roy Williams was not happy in the post-game interview room despite the relatively easy victory and the fact that the Heels are the only undefeated team left in ACC play. He pointed to the fact that 14 of the Deacons 17 buckets made in the second half were layups or dunks.

But the Tar Heels did come up with 17 points off 12 Wake turnovers in the first half alone to set the tone. “We created some turnovers early and that gave us some confidence,” Coach Williams said. For the game, Carolina came up with 15 steals and forced 19 turnovers.

UNC’s Johnson was the only Tar Heel in double figures and he attributed that to being aggressive on the offensive boards. But his concern was for the Tar Heels to improve on the defensive end. “We need to stop their guys from getting to the hoop and make sure they have contested shots,” he said.

The Tar Heels, now 16-2 and 6-0 in the ACC, play at Virginia Tech Sunday at 6:30 p.m., conflicting with the Carolina Panthers playoff game.

For more on the game, including a box score and commentary on ESPN and the slump of Marcus Paige, please click here.


Starting again, Meeks lifts UNC over Pack

uncncstate0116UNC’s Kennedy Meeks, coming off a knee injury, got his first start in a month and he made the most of it, especially in the second half, as he scored 23 in a 67-55 win at home over rival NC State. (1/16)

Meeks tallied just five points in the first half as Isaiah Hicks and Nate Britt gave the Heels enough of a lift off the bench to manage a 29-all tie at the half.

With the score tied at 34 and 17 minutes left, Joel Berry came up with a loose ball and got it to Meeks for a dunk, making it 36-34 Carolina. The Tar Heels never trailed again. A 14-2 run, highlighted by a pair of Berry threes, ended when Meeks made a nice pivot move for two that put the Heels up 45-36 with 13:25 left.

The Tar Heels got their first double-digit lead at 49-39 midway through the second half when Meeks hit a short hook shot. It never got closer than seven the rest of the way and the lead grew to 12 at 55-43 when UNC’s Justin Jackson hit a three from the right wing with less than seven minutes to go. Twelve points, also the final margin, was the largest lead of the game.

Neither team shot well as Carolina hit 38 percent of its shots while State hit 40 percent. The Tar Heels hit only five of 20 three points.

Carolina’s defense in the second half was key as the Heels held the Pack to 33 percent shooting in the half, including no points for State’s leading scorer Cat Barber, who finished with just nine.

“The kids gave a great effort,” said Wolfpack coach Mark Gottfried. “But things changed in the second half. Their ability to get offensive rebounds and our turnovers were the difference in the game.”

The Pack turned it over 18 times compared to just nine for the Tar Heels. Carolina scored 17 points off State turnovers while the Wolfpack managed just four points off Tar Heel turnovers.

For more on the game, including a box score, please click here.


Nifty assists key UNC’s comeback win

uncjohnsonsyracuseBrice Johnson went from having his best scoring and rebounding earlier in the week to getting a career-high eight assists, several of them to Isaiah Hicks who led North Carolina with a career-tying 21 points en route to an 84-73 win at Syracuse. (1/9)

Trailing by six at 56-50 just past midway through the second half, the Tar Heels put together a string of highlight-reel assists to take a lead and they never looked back. Justin Jackson got it to Johnson at the free throw line and he immediately zipped a pass to Hicks, breaking down the baseline, for a dunk. And he drew the foul. After the free throw, the Heels trailed 56-53.

Half a minute later, UNC’s Nate Britt came up with a steal and pushed it forward to Jackson for a dunk to draw the Heels within a point.

After a Syracuse timeout, the Tar Heels continued the assist onslaught as Paige lobbed a pass over and across the paint to Jackson, who banked it in for a 57-56 lead.

With the Heels up 59-58, they went on a 16-8 run to take a commanding nine-point lead at 75-66 with just two minutes to play. During the stretch, Joel Berry got just Carolina’s third three pointer of the game. And Johnson continued the assist barrage with a pair to Hicks, who finished the plays with dunks.

“It was high-low all day,” Hicks said. “I have to give that to Brice.”

UNC coach Roy Williams agreed that the Heels did a good job getting it to Johnson high up in the paint and he made some good passes down low.

The Tar Heels shot nearly 65 percent in the second half against a Syracuse zone that bothered them in first half. Carolina scored 51 points in the second half, compared to just 33 in the first half when it was tied at 33-all.

For more on the game plus a box score, please click here.


Johnson, Paige combine for 69 as Heels beat FSU

Brice Johnson had one of the best scoring and rebounding nights in North Carolina history with 39 points and 23 rebounds as the Tar Heels whipped Florida State 106-90 in an away ACC game. (1/4)

It’s been more than 50 years since a Tar Heel player had a double-double of that magnitude when Billy Cunningham had two similar games – scoring 48 points and getting 25 rebounds in one game and 40 points and 28 rebounds in another in 1964.

“That’s about as good as I’ve ever seen, especially on the road,” UNC coach Roy Williams said of Johnson’s performance. He likened it to 20-20 games by Nick Collison, when he coached Kansas, and Sean May, since he’s been with Carolina. It was the first time a college player had more than 35 points and 20 rebounds since Kevin Durant did it for Texas in during the 2006-07 season.

Johnson’s fellow senior Marcus Paige scored a season-high 30 points as Carolina scored 51 points in the last 14 minutes to erase a 56-55 deficit. Up just 72-70 midway through the second half, the Tar Heels went on a 14-4 run to take a commanding lead at 86-74 with 7:40 left.

It never got closer than seven the rest of the way with the final score being the largest lead as the Tar Heels scored the last nine points of the game.

Florida State trailed just 41-37 at the half and stayed close until the last 10 minutes due mainly to the Seminoles’ three-point scoring. While they hit only 41 percent of their field goals, the Noles hit 10 of 20 three-pointers with Xavier Rathan-Mayes getting seven of them.

Meanwhile, Carolina hit 50 percent of its field goals as Joel Berry was the only other Tar Heel in double figures with 12. Berry hit a three with 1:42 to give Carolina a 100-90 lead and stop any thoughts of a comeback. The Heels needed big games by Johnson and Paige as Berry, Theo Pinson and Isaiah Hicks were all saddled with four fouls.

For more on the game, including a box score, please click here.


Heels rally late to beat GT going away

uncberrygatech2Trailing 67-65 late, North Carolina scored on 11 straight possessions, including a 9-0 run, to defeat Georgia Tech 86-78 in Chapel Hill. (1/2)

The Tar Heels, who led by as many as five in the first half, trailed most of the first half and were behind at halftime, 42-39, for just the second time this season.

It took eight minutes into the second half before Carolina could erase the deficit to lead for the first time since it was 15-13 with a 59-57 edge after Brice Johnson dunked with 11:55 to cap a 6-0 run.

But the Yellow Jackets took a 67-65 lead with 6:19 left on a pair of free throws by Marcus Georges-Hunt, who led all scorers with 25 points.

Over the next two and a half minutes, the Heels went on that 9-0 run led by Joel Berry who banged in an open three – just the Tar Heels second of the game – and then drove to the hoop for a layup and foul for an old-fashioned three-point play. Justin Jackson hit a floater with 3:53 left to complete the run and give UNC a 74-67 lead.

A three by GT’s Adam Smith, who hit four of five threes in the first half, cut the margin to four at 74-70 but after a Marcus Paige nine-footer on the run, Smith missed an open three and the Jackets never got close again.

The Tar Heels wrapped it up with 10 free throws down the stretch.

“It was an extremely hard fought game,” said UNC coach Roy Williams, adding that it was a typical ACC contest. “Joel Berry made a couple of huge, huge plays and he hadn’t played well up to that point.”

In taking and extending the lead, the Tar Heels finally got some defensive stops, Coach Williams said.

For more on the game, plus a box score, please click here.


Heels make it 58 in a row over Clemson

uncpinsonclemsonNorth Carolina survived an off night from its leading scorer as five Tar Heels scored in double figures to send Clemson to its 58th straight loss in Chapel Hill. (12/30)

UNC’s Brice Johnson, who seemed frustrated most of the night, finished with just three points on a one of eight shooting night. But Isaiah Hicks came off the bench to score 14 in his stead while Marcus Paige led the way with 18 points while Joel Berry scored 14.

Theo Pinson gave the Tar Heels a lift off the bench, hitting all five of his shots, which included three three-pointers for 13 points. Justin Jackson was the fifth Tar Heel in double figures, also with 13.

“We didn’t get much out of Brice tonight,” UNC coach Roy Williams said. “It was a tough night for Brice. He must be reading his pub that he was all-world.”

Williams said Johnson has been “sensational” so far this season because he has worked hard in practice and played hard in games. But on this night, he missed some open shots and got frustrated. He also was pushed away from the basket and shot longer shots than normal.

Coach Williams pointed to the play of Hicks and Pinson off the bench as key. The two together went 10 of 11 with 12 rebounds. With Kennedy Meeks still out with an injury and fellow big men Johnson and Joel James having off nights, their play was essential.

For more on the game, including a box score, please click here.