UNC Archive

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Sluggish Tar Heels pull away late behind Anthony

Despite being the more talented team, North Carolina was up on Gardner-Webb by just two possessions midway through the second half. But then super frosh Cole Anthony reeled off 16 of his 28 points to lead the Tar Heels to a 77-61 home victory. (11/15) Up 51-47 with over 10 minutes to play, Carolina went on a modest 7-0 run highlighted by a deep three from the left wing by Anthony to push the lead up to 11. Anthony later wowed the crowd with a step-back three as he was being double-teamed at the end of the shot clock. An […]

Despite being the more talented team, North Carolina was up on Gardner-Webb by just two possessions midway through the second half. But then super frosh Cole Anthony reeled off 16 of his 28 points to lead the Tar Heels to a 77-61 home victory. (11/15)

Up 51-47 with over 10 minutes to play, Carolina went on a modest 7-0 run highlighted by a deep three from the left wing by Anthony to push the lead up to 11.

Anthony later wowed the crowd with a step-back three as he was being double-teamed at the end of the shot clock.

An Anthony dunk on a lob pass from Christian Keeling put the Heels up 70-57 with 2:44 to go. The largest lead of the game came after Shea Rush came off the bench to pop in a three from the corner with just 25 seconds left for the final 16-point margin.

Carolina fans are already used to Anthony scoring but they certainly had to feel good about freshman Armando Bacot coming back from a concussion a week earlier to put 12 points on the board.

Bacot also hauled in 11 rebounds but his performance didn’t much impress UNC coach Roy Williams who thought he could have done a lot more. “I didn’t feel like he played worth a darn,” Coach Williams said. “We can’t be the best team we can be if he doesn’t play better.”

Careful not to diss Gardner-Webb, Coach Williams said his team is more gifted and taller yet the game was a two-possession game deep into the second half. He wasn’t pleased with Bacot’s ball control in the post.

“I’ve got to stop bringing the ball down,” Bacot said. With his 6-10 frame, he could have scored more if he hadn’t gotten the ball knocked loose several times by not keeping the ball above the fray.

There were five ties and eight lead changes in the first half as the Heels seemed sluggish. Keeling drove the right side of the lane for a bucket to put the Tar Heels up 26-24 with 3:21 left in the first half. While the game stayed close a little longer, Carolina never trailed again.

Ahead just 30-27 at the break, UNC scored the first 11 points of the second half to get more control of the game. In the first minute, Keeling and Leaky Black hit jumpers.

Behind Jose Perez, who led his team with 12 points, Gardner-Webb pulled back within four before Anthony took over to put the game away.

The Tar Heels, 3-0, host Elon Wednesday night.

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

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UNC’s Pierce makes his presence known in win over UNC-W

Three North Carolina players got double figures in points and rebounds as the Tar Heels won at UNC-Wilmington 78-62. Cole Anthony, while not shooting as well as he did in the season opener, led the way with 20 points and 10 rebounds. Garrison Brooks and Justin Pierce had 18 points and 12 rebounds each. While North Carolina hasn’t been to UNC-Wilmington before, Pierce, UNC’s grad transfer from William & Mary, is very familiar with the 5,200-person arena. Pierce, who drained four threes on the night, led Carolina in the first half with 13 points as the Heels, already shorthanded, had […]

Three North Carolina players got double figures in points and rebounds as the Tar Heels won at UNC-Wilmington 78-62.

Cole Anthony, while not shooting as well as he did in the season opener, led the way with 20 points and 10 rebounds.

Garrison Brooks and Justin Pierce had 18 points and 12 rebounds each.

While North Carolina hasn’t been to UNC-Wilmington before, Pierce, UNC’s grad transfer from William & Mary, is very familiar with the 5,200-person arena.

Pierce, who drained four threes on the night, led Carolina in the first half with 13 points as the Heels, already shorthanded, had to survive an Armando Bacot concussion early.

The Tar Heels were challenged by the Seahawks through the first 10 minutes.

UNC-W got off to a 5-0 start and there were three ties and three lead changes.

A Brooks two-handed slam dunk started a 12-2 run as the Heels started to take control of the game.

Brooks hit a pair of free throws to give Carolina its first double-digit lead at 33-23.

The Heels settled for a 40-29 halftime lead despite missing eight free throws and shooting just 30 percent from the floor.

Carolina missed nearly half of it’s free throw shots during the game and finished shooting just 36.5 percent from the floor.

The game never got closer than eight in the second half as the Tar Heels worked the lead up to 22 at 70-48 after Anthony hit a step-back three and passed to Brandon Huffman for two.

It was Pierce though that took some of the attention from Anthony in this game.

“I got some open looks early,” Pierce said. “The guys did a good job of penetrating and kicking it back out to me. The shot felt great. I’m a confident player – I can shoot the ball.”

Pierce went over 1,000 points for his college career and he’s gotten some of those against UNC-W over the years.

“It was an awesome environment and cool to be back,” he said.

Pierce said the Heels have a lot of improving to do but it’s better to work on the problems after two wins.

The Tar Heels, 2-0, host Gardner Webb Friday, Nov. 15 at 9 p.m.

Box score

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Hello, goodbye Cole Anthony; leads Heels with 34 points

Cole Anthony, we hardly knew ye. If any North Carolina fans thought the highly regarded freshman might stay for two years, they don’t now after Anthony torched Notre Dame for 34 points, the most ever by a player in his Carolina debut, en route to a 76-65 Tar Heel win. The home opener wasn’t easy though as Carolina trailed the Irish with 13 minutes to play. That’s when Anthony took over the game with everyone in light blue’s approval. Anthony drilled a three from the top of the key to tie the score at 46-all and less than a minute […]

Cole Anthony, we hardly knew ye. If any North Carolina fans thought the highly regarded freshman might stay for two years, they don’t now after Anthony torched Notre Dame for 34 points, the most ever by a player in his Carolina debut, en route to a 76-65 Tar Heel win.

The home opener wasn’t easy though as Carolina trailed the Irish with 13 minutes to play. That’s when Anthony took over the game with everyone in light blue’s approval.

Anthony drilled a three from the top of the key to tie the score at 46-all and less than a minute later popped in a jumper off a screen to put the Tar Heels on top for good.

A 22-6 run over five minutes of play, highlighted by 11 Anthony points and a big three by Andrew Platek from the right wing, allowed the Heels to take control of the game. Platek also delivered a fast break alley-oop pass to freshman Armando Bacot, who dunked it for a 65-52 lead with just over eight minutes to go.

The largest lead of the game came at 73-57 with four minutes left after back-to-back threes by Anthony.

“Cole was pretty impressive in the second half,” UNC coach Roy Williams said nonetheless lamenting that he can’t be the only player to make a shot and get a rebound.

“We have to have other guys to step up,” he added.

Junior Garrison Brooks, the only returning starter, scored 10 points and added nine rebounds in 39 minutes of play but Coach Williams said he “didn’t have a great game.” He was the only other Tar Heel in double figures.

Anthony bested Rashad McCant’s 28 first-game points and is the first Tar Heel freshman to score at least 30 points and haul in at least 10 rebounds since Tyler Hansbrough had 40 points and 10 rebounds against Georgia Tech in 2006.

Anthony said it was “an honor” to be part of Tar Heel lore but he added that “it’s a long season and we have a lot more work to do.”

He was upset that he turned the ball over four times and that he didn’t defend as well as he could.

No Tar Heel defended much late in the first half when Notre Dame went on a 12-2 run over less than three minutes’ time to go up 28-23. While the Heels led by as many as nine in the first half, they trailed the Irish 31-30 at the break.

Prentiss Hubb led the Fighting Irish with 22 points.

It was the first time the Tar Heels started a season with a conference game since 1967. The 1-0 Tar Heels travel to UNC-Wilmington Friday night.

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

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UNC basketball won’t look the same but results could be very similar

With eight new faces on the UNC basketball team for the 2019-2020 season, who knows what’s going to happen? Coach Roy Williams certainly re-loaded in the offseason with grad transfers and top recruits but will the players – new and old – gel into a cohesive team by March? That’s the mystery. The talent is there to win an ACC regular season title, an ACC tournament title and an NCAA tournament title but with so much youth and pieced-together parts, it would seem unlikely that the Heels can pull it off. Of course, when the Tar Heels lost seniors Luke […]

With eight new faces on the UNC basketball team for the 2019-2020 season, who knows what’s going to happen? Coach Roy Williams certainly re-loaded in the offseason with grad transfers and top recruits but will the players – new and old – gel into a cohesive team by March? That’s the mystery.

The talent is there to win an ACC regular season title, an ACC tournament title and an NCAA tournament title but with so much youth and pieced-together parts, it would seem unlikely that the Heels can pull it off.

Of course, when the Tar Heels lost seniors Luke Maye, Cam Johnson and Kenny Williams, and transfer Seventh Woods, along with early NBA defectors Coby White and Nassir Little (Little should have stayed), Carolina fans were bracing for a below-par season.

But when the Tar Heels landed a pair of highly-regarded transfers in scoring guard Christian Keeling and forward Justin Pierce, the pieces started to fall into place.
The addition of likely one-and-dones Cole Anthony, a magician who plays guard, and Armando Bacot, a big demolition man who plays forward, set the Carolina universe ablaze at the possibilities.

Only 6-foot-9 junior Garrison Brooks returns as a starter and significant scorer from last year’s team so the additions were imperative to compete with the Dukes and Louisvilles of the world. While he led the team in field goal percentage and scored in double figures 12 times, Brooks is primarily a defensive stopper.

Expectations of Anthony, Carolina’s new point guard, as a scorer are through the roof (or the ceiling). There is talk about potentially not just being the nation’s freshman of the year but the player of the year. That’s pretty high praise but also something that cannot be relied upon.

With leadership from Brooks and senior Brandon Robinson and progression from guard/swing man Leaky Black, this could be a special group.

There were chemistry issues back in the day when Jerry Stackhouse and Rasheed Wallace stepped into significant roles as freshman for a team that was laden with upper classmen who saw their minutes diminish. That shouldn’t happen with this team as only Brooks played significant minutes last year.

While chemistry will ultimately tell the tale for the Tar Heels, the difference may well be Leaky Black. The 6-8 sophomore showed so much promise last season even though he missed 13 games with a sprained ankle. He has the size, speed and tools to do just about anything on the court. He can score (including threes), rebound, dish the ball off, steal, play tough defense and do it all with panache. While some compare him to Theo Pinson, if he stays four years, I suspect he will be better because of his ability to score.

With five players 6-9 or taller, Coach Williams figures to see a lot of his scoring coming in the paint this season. Brooks and Bacot figure to be the primary beneficiaries of the emphasis while 6-11 Sterling Manley (if he can get healthy) and 6-10 Brandon Huffman getting in on the action as well.

In addition to Manley’s health woes, Robinson has been slowed with a preseason injury as have solid, if not spectacular, junior guard Andrew Platek, four-star freshman guard Anthony Harris and three-star freshman guard Jeremiah Francis. All could be contributors before the end of the season.

Per usual, Carolina has a tough non-conference schedule (Gonzaga, UCLA, Ohio State, Alabama and Iowa State or Michigan) and will no doubt lose two or threes games before the ACC schedule gets into full swing in January as the players settle into their roles.

Duke, even without Zion, is considered the top team in the ACC per the basketball writers. Last year’s national champion Virginia Cavaliers lose a lot of personnel and don’t figure to be a top three team. UNC, Duke and Louisville should be the top three teams.

This mysterious UNC team, full of unknowns, could very well be a contender come ACC Tournament and NCAA Tournament time. I’m predicting a 32-8 campaign with the Tar Heels falling in the ACC Tournament final and catching fire in the NCAA Tournament before bowing out, barely, in the national semi-finals.

While this will be a season like no other for Carolina, with all the changes in personnel, it should be another highly satisfying one for Tar Heel fans.

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Mack Brown not yet a familiar name to the players of the ACC

CHARLOTTE — Mack. Really just the first name is enough for most North Carolina residents, particularly those of a certain age, to know immediately who they’re referring to – the former-now-current North Carolina football coach, Mack Brown. But the key phrase there? Of a certain age. Read more here.

CHARLOTTE — Mack. Really just the first name is enough for most North Carolina residents, particularly those of a certain age, to know immediately who they’re referring to – the former-now-current North Carolina football coach, Mack Brown. But the key phrase there? Of a certain age.
Read more here.

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Tar Heels’ season ends amid raining threes

After an even first half, Auburn blitzed North Carolina with 12 three pointers in 18 attempts in the second half to blow past the Tar Heels 97-80 and end their season in disappointing fashion. The Tigers advance to the Elite 8 after sinking 17 total three pointers and scoring 19 points off 14 UNC turnovers. After leading by as many as five points in the first half, Auburn scored six straight in the last minute of the first half to take a 41-39 lead at the break. Surprisingly being outscored in the paint in the first half 24-12, North Carolina […]

After an even first half, Auburn blitzed North Carolina with 12 three pointers in 18 attempts in the second half to blow past the Tar Heels 97-80 and end their season in disappointing fashion.

The Tigers advance to the Elite 8 after sinking 17 total three pointers and scoring 19 points off 14 UNC turnovers.

After leading by as many as five points in the first half, Auburn scored six straight in the last minute of the first half to take a 41-39 lead at the break.

Surprisingly being outscored in the paint in the first half 24-12, North Carolina actually was in good shape down by just two. The Tar Heels have often come out energized in the second half this season and taken control of games.

Instead, Auburn extended its streak. After two Tiger threes and a two in the first minute and a half on the second half to make it 49-39, UNC coach Roy Williams uncharacteristically called a timeout to try to halt the run.

Carolina cut the deficit to six at 60-54 with 13:39 left after senior Luke Maye hit a hook follow.

But Danjel Purifoy came off the Auburn bench to can three three-pointers in just over a minute to stretch the lead out to 73-57 with just under 10 minutes to go.

If that weren’t bad enough, Anfernee McLemore, one of eight different Tigers who hit threes, banked in a wild three to extend the lead to 76-57.

The Tar Heels never got closer than 10 the rest of the way. While Coach Williams refused to use it as an excuse, it must be said that grad senior Cam Johnson, Carolina’s leading scorer, was playing sick as was freshman Nassir Little, who had been Carolina’s best player in the NCAA Tournament.

Coach Williams said that Little, who had two potential dunks blocked, didn’t have the lift he normally has and that Johnson was “just not the same Cam.”

Johnson was throwing up after the game. Both players had fevers earlier in the week.

Nonetheless, Johnson scored 15 points but hit only two of seven three pointers. Freshman Coby White also tallied 15 but he was an even worse zero of seven from beyond the arc. Seniors Luke Maye and Kenny Williams, who was especially distraught when the outcome became obvious, rounded out the double figure scoring with 13 and 10 points.

The Tar Heels end the season 29-7 despite winning 17 of their last 20 games with the other losses coming to teams that were No.1 in the nation at the time – fellow ACC foes Virginia and Duke.

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

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Maye, Little bust zone as Tar Heels advance

Luke Maye and Nassir Little found holes in the middle of the defense as each scored 20 en route to an 81-59 shellacking of Washington to advance to the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament. The Huskies, winners of the Pac-10 regular season, packed into a zone from the start. UNC’s Coby White loosened the zone with four threes over a five-minute period in the first half. And then Maye, Little and others attacked the middle. “The key today was getting it to the middle – that was a soft spot,” said UNC’s Cam Johnson, who had a […]

Luke Maye and Nassir Little found holes in the middle of the defense as each scored 20 en route to an 81-59 shellacking of Washington to advance to the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament.

The Huskies, winners of the Pac-10 regular season, packed into a zone from the start. UNC’s Coby White loosened the zone with four threes over a five-minute period in the first half. And then Maye, Little and others attacked the middle.

“The key today was getting it to the middle – that was a soft spot,” said UNC’s Cam Johnson, who had a team-high seven assists.

When Maye got it, he tended to turn quickly and hit short or mid-range jumpers. When Little got it, he tended to attack the rim and elevate over the defenders for baskets.

“Luke is an intelligent player who finds the holes in the zone really well,” UNC coach Roy Williams said. “Nas is gifted around the basket.”

He said Little uses his quickness, leaping ability and power to cause opponents’ problems. “He can hurt a lot of people inside,” Coach Williams said.

Little, who comes off the bench, got a little more playing time than usual as Garrison Brooks spent several minutes in the locker after getting his mouth busted. He had to have stitches and lost a tooth on a play where the offender wasn’t even charged with a foul.

UNC's Nassir Little elevated over Washington defenders all day. (UNC Sports Information photo.)

UNC’s Nassir Little elevated over Washington defenders all day. (UNC Sports Information photo.)

After Little put in a follow shot, was fouled and hit the free throw, the Heels had their biggest lead of the first half at 34-20.

Carolina led only 41-33 at the half though as the Heels went through a turnover stretch. The Heels had 10 turnovers, including five out of eight possessions at one stretch.

In the second half, the Heels cut the turnovers in half and shot over 50 percent from the field.

The Huskies, who relied heavily on the three-point shot (they had only three two-point field goals in the second half), briefly cut the deficit to five in the first half. But then, the Heels went on a 13-0 run that set the tone for the second half and all but did in Washington.

Johnson started the stretch with a three from the right corner and then hit a baseline jumper. After Maye hit a three, trailing the fastbreak, the Huskies called a timeout. But it didn’t slow the Heels as Brooks bounced an assist to Maye and then Maye hit a 10 footer in the lane.

After White sunk a free throw, Carolin had its biggest lead to that point at 18, 54-36.

It never got closer than 12 from then on out as the Tar Heels worked the lead up to ask many as 25 points.

Joining Little and Maye in double figures were White, who had 17, and Johnson, who had 13.

The Tar Heels, now 29-6, play Auburn Friday evening. Washington, led by Nowell Jaylen’s 12 points, ends the season at 28-7.

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

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Carolina’s big second half buries Iona

North Carolina survived a barrage of three pointers in the first half by quickly erasing a halftime deficit and easing to a 88-73 victory over Iona in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The Tar Heels, the No. 1 seed in the Midwest Region, fell behind by eight points in the first half as Iona drained 10 of 21 threes. “They controlled the clock and shot threes (in the first half),” UNC coach Roy Williams said. “And we didn’t shoot very well.” All that changed in the second half as Coach Williams said his team turned it around by […]

North Carolina survived a barrage of three pointers in the first half by quickly erasing a halftime deficit and easing to a 88-73 victory over Iona in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

The Tar Heels, the No. 1 seed in the Midwest Region, fell behind by eight points in the first half as Iona drained 10 of 21 threes.

“They controlled the clock and shot threes (in the first half),” UNC coach Roy Williams said. “And we didn’t shoot very well.”

All that changed in the second half as Coach Williams said his team turned it around by playing with more passion and getting lost in the game rather than worrying about the score.

“We guarded them a lot better,” he said. “Didn’t give them the wide open three.”

Down 38-33 at the break, the Tar Heel players said Coach Williams was loud and clear that they were not playing Carolina basketball.

“Their hitting threes took us out of transition opportunities in the first half,” UNC’s Cam Johnson said. “We tied it up pretty quick in the second half and that gave us some momentum.”

A set play to give Johnson a good look opened the second half as he popped in a three. Less than 30 seconds later, Luke Maye tied the game at 38-all.

After Maye looped a pass to Johnson to give the Heels a 42-41 lead with 17:58 to go, Carolina never trailed again.

A 16-4 run put the Heels up 58-45 and they keep the advantage in double figures the rest of the way, working the lead up to 74-54 after Kenny Williams got loose for a three.

Carolina was banking that Iona would cool down from beyond the arc and the Gaels did going just five of 20 in the second half.

After a woeful shooting first half, the Heels shot 64 percent from the floor and kept piling up the rebounds, finishing with a 52-26 advantage.

Five Tar Heels finished in double figures with Johnson leading the way with 21 points, 16 of which came in the second half.

Nassir Little gave Carolina a lift off the bench with 19 points in only 17 minutes. Maye finished with 16 points while Garrison Brooks and Coby White finished with 10 a piece.

The Tar Heels improve to 28-6 and advance to play Washington Sunday afternoon.

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

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Tar Heels come up short against Zion

Well, Zion Williamson did make a difference, just barely. In a back-and-forth contest, North Carolina came up short as Williamson tipped in his own miss with just 30 seconds left and Duke hung on to defeat the Tar Heels 74-73 in the ACC Tournament semi-finals. UNC coach Roy Williams said Williamson put on his Superman jersey to help lead the Devils over the Heels. When Williamson could get the ball down low, he was unstoppable as the freshman finished with 31 points and 11 rebounds. But this is Carolina-Duke, not just Carolina-Zion and the Tar Heels led the Devils 71-67 […]

Well, Zion Williamson did make a difference, just barely. In a back-and-forth contest, North Carolina came up short as Williamson tipped in his own miss with just 30 seconds left and Duke hung on to defeat the Tar Heels 74-73 in the ACC Tournament semi-finals.

UNC coach Roy Williams said Williamson put on his Superman jersey to help lead the Devils over the Heels. When Williamson could get the ball down low, he was unstoppable as the freshman finished with 31 points and 11 rebounds.

But this is Carolina-Duke, not just Carolina-Zion and the Tar Heels led the Devils 71-67 after Luke Maye drove by Williamson, scored and was fouled, completing the three-point play with 2:46 left.

UNC's Luke Maye drives on Duke's Zion Williamson, who reaches in. (UNC Sports Information photo.)

UNC’s Luke Maye drives on Duke’s Zion Williamson, who reaches in.
(UNC Sports Information photo.)

But then Williamson spun down low, scored and drew UNC’s Garrison Brooks’ fifth foul. After the free throw, Duke got within one at 71-70.

The Heels failed to score but seemed to have it back when the ball slipped through Maye’s legs right into the hands of Duke’s Jordan Goldwire under the basket who put it in for a 72-71 Devils lead.

“He came up with a huge bucket – I don’t know how he got it,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said.

Neither team scored on their next possessions but UNC’s Nassir Little picked up a loose ball and dunked it through with 50 seconds left to give Carolina a 73-72 lead.

That’s when Williamson scored on his own miss to give Duke the lead for good. But Carolina had its chances. UNC’s Cam Johnson, who was hot early on, missed a three from the left wing on a shot that looked like it was going to go through with 13 seconds left.

After R.J. Barrett missed a pair of free throws for Duke, Carolina had a chance at the end. Coby White couldn’t find a route to the basket so he heaved up a long two while slipping. Nonetheless it almost went in with a couple of seconds left. Little had a chance at a tip but it wasn’t close and Duke had won, avoiding a third loss to the Tar Heels this season.

“They (Duke) did a good job defensively and we didn’t have a chance to attack the basket,” Coach Williams said.

Johnson said “a couple of little plays made the difference. Our guys fought hard but we could have played better.”

In fact, the Tar Heels were probably lucky to be in it after hitting only four of 27 three-point shots.

“If you go four for 27 from three, you deserve to get beat,” Coach Williams said, adding that you can’t rely on the jumpshot. He said the Tar Heels took bad and quick shots in the first half. “You’d have thought there was a three-second shot clock,” he said.

Carolina had built a 13-point lead in the first half at 33-20, mostly behind the hot hand of Johnson, who had 16 first-half points. But Duke got some stops defensively and Williamson started to take over.

Duke went on a 24-11 run at the end of the first half to tie it 44-all going into the break.

Carolina managed just one field goal in the first seven minutes of the second half to fall behind by six at 52-46. But the Heels came up with three steals and buckets in a row to tie it and force a Duke timeout.

It went back and forth the rest of the way, ending with that final flurry over the last three minutes.

“Our season is not over,” Coach Williams said. “We didn’t play well enough to win.”

For his part, Coach K said it was “vintage ACC Duke-Carolina” and that both teams played hard and well, particularly on defense in the second half.

Both teams went multiple minutes without scoring in the second half.

Joining Williamson in double figures for Duke were Barrett, who had 14 points, and Tre Jones, who had 11. Johnson led the Tar Heels with 23, but went cold in the second half. Maye had yet another double-double as he scored 14 points and hauled in a game-high 13 rebounds. White scored 11 but missed all six of his three-point attempts.

The Tar Heels fall to 27-6 and await its NCAA Tournament bid while Duke, now 28-5, play Florida State for the ACC Tournament crown.

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

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Carolina, survives runs, handles Louisville to advance

North Carolina got big leads, withstood runs and finally put Louisville away late to advance into the ACC Tournament semi-finals after an 83-70 win over the Cardinals. Behind Cam Johnson’s 14 points, the Tar Heels worked the lead up to 13 at 36-21 in the first half but had to withstand a 12-0 Louisville run that took less than two minutes for the Cardinals to accomplish. Up just 34-33, Carolina went on frantic fastbreak barrage to outscore Louisville 11-2 to take a 45-35 halftime lead. The Heels worked the margin back up to 13 when Coby White hit a falling-down, […]

North Carolina got big leads, withstood runs and finally put Louisville away late to advance into the ACC Tournament semi-finals after an 83-70 win over the Cardinals.

Behind Cam Johnson’s 14 points, the Tar Heels worked the lead up to 13 at 36-21 in the first half but had to withstand a 12-0 Louisville run that took less than two minutes for the Cardinals to accomplish.

Up just 34-33, Carolina went on frantic fastbreak barrage to outscore Louisville 11-2 to take a 45-35 halftime lead.

The Heels worked the margin back up to 13 when Coby White hit a falling-down, acrobatic shot and was fouled. After the free throw, Carolina led 52-39.

But once again Louisville cut the lead to six at 58-52. The Heels got the cushion back up to 12 after a Brandon Robinson three from the left side midway through the second half.

The Cardinals got it back down to seven before the Heels went on a game-deciding 11-0 run that pushed the lead to a game-high 18 points at 79-61 with less than five minutes to play.

Sterling Manley, who only spelled Garrison Brooks for a couple of minutes, started the run when Johnson found him open for a dunk. The other highlight of the run was a steal and layup by White. After going up by 18, it never got closer than 11 as the Tar Heels settled for a 13-point victory.

UNC's freshman point guard Coby White was an acrobat all night. (UNC Sports Information photo.)

UNC’s freshman point guard Coby White was an acrobat all night.
(UNC Sports Information photo.)

Luke Maye, who along with White, led the Tar Heels with 19 points, said it was a big team win. “We are clicking on all cylinders now,” he said. “It’s good to see so many guys stepping up for us.”

UNC coach Roy Williams said that as the season has progressed he’s seen his club share the ball better, take better shots and chase opponents off the three-point line.

Coach Williams said he’s happy to be playing the tournament in North Carolina and he’s happy to still be in the tournament.

“I love being in North Carolina and I love being in Charlotte but we were in Charlotte last year (NCAA Tournament) and got our butts kicked,” he said.

“Winning this thing (ACC tourney) is one of our goals but it’s not the biggest one,” he added.

Carolina shot 46 percent from the floor compared to 40 percent for Louisville and the Heels outrebounded the Cardinals 44-35.

Joining White and Maye in double figures for Carolina were Johnson, who had 14 points and Brooks, who had 11 points.

The Tar Heels improve to 27-5. Louisville, led by Dwane Sutton’s 14, falls to 20-13 and has to wait for its NCAA bid.

For a box score, please click here.