UNC Archive

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Kennedy Meeks drains threes in style in ACC barnstorming tour

During a three-point shooting contest at the first game of the 39th annual ACC Barnstorming tour (of seniors), UNC’s Kennedy Meeks got to show a little of his inner shooting guard. Not only did he loft several during the game, he made it to the finals of the three-point shooting contest. See the YouTube video to see the barrage. In the second round, he faltered however, and Holly Springs’ High School Senior Jake Kelsey won the contest, making all 10 of his shots. The ACC All-Stars, coached by Phil Ford, were actually led by another coach who suited up – […]


During a three-point shooting contest at the first game of the 39th annual ACC Barnstorming tour (of seniors), UNC’s Kennedy Meeks got to show a little of his inner shooting guard. Not only did he loft several during the game, he made it to the finals of the three-point shooting contest. See the YouTube video to see the barrage.

In the second round, he faltered however, and Holly Springs’ High School Senior Jake Kelsey won the contest, making all 10 of his shots.

The ACC All-Stars, coached by Phil Ford, were actually led by another coach who suited up – Duke assistant Nolan Smith, who drained nine threes during the 146-127 victory over the Wake County High School basketball All-Stars.

The MVP of the game – chosen from among the high school players – was Trey Terry of Fuquay-Varina High School.

Those taking part from the ACC included Nate Britt and Kanler Coker from North Carolina, Matt Jones and Amile Jefferson from Duke, Chris Brickhouse and BeeJay Anya (who didn’t play) from N.C. State, and Austin Arians and Trent VanHorn from Wake Forest, among others.

It was predictably a non-serious, fun exhibition with a bunch of three-point shooting and little defense. The high school team actually got an early lead but Britt hit three three-pointers to give the ACC All-Stars a lead they would never relinquish – although the high schoolers cut the margin to under double-digits late before the ACC pulled away.

While Meeks, fresh off the NCAA title game, seemed to be the biggest draw – and had the longest line for autographs after the game – Jefferson was a hit during the game. The Duke senior came off as auditioning for the Harlem Globetrotters, once even holding the ball between his legs – a la Meadowlark Lemon – as he faked out the opponents by pretending to shoot with nothing in his hands.

The eight-city tour continues through April 22. The line-ups may vary. For instance, UNC players Isaiah Hicks and Stilman White were not at this game but are expected to participate.

For more information on the barnstorming tour, please click here.

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CHAMPS: Heels get redemption in slugfest

FJQFXGCNNXRTSBQ.20170404055818A year after getting a kick in the gut in the final second of the NCAA Tournament title game, North Carolina got redemption with a tough slugfest victory over Gonzaga to give the Tar Heels their sixth national championship, 71-65.

As has been the trend this season, the Tar Heels found a way to win and was able to close out the game.

Down 65-63 with less than two minutes to play, Carolina indeed closed out the game with an 8-0 run.

Justin Jackson, who had missed all nine of his three-point attempts, came up with an old-fashioned three-point play inside with 1:40 left to give the Tar Heels a 66-65 lead that they wouldn’t relinquish.

Gonzaga’s Nigel Williams-Goss, who had scored 15 points, missed a jumper. Theo Pinson got the rebound for Carolina. The Tar Heels burned clock but couldn’t score. Kennedy Meeks was able to get a tie up, giving the possession back to the Heels with 49 seconds left.

The Heels burned the clock and Isaiah Hicks drove the lane to bang one in at the end of the shot clock, giving Carolina a 68-65 advantage.

Williams-Goss drove in the lane but Meeks came up with a block. Joel Berry recovered the ball and threw ahead to Jackson for a dunk to all but wrap it up at 70-65 with seconds remaining.

Meeks stole a desperation pass and Berry was fouled. After a timeout to re-gain his composure, he hit one of two free throws before the celebration began.

“Forget my shooting – we’re national champions!,” said Jackson, who did manage to score 16 points.

But it was Berry, still not 100 percent after two turned ankles, who led way with 22 points on his way to the Most Outstanding Player award of the Final Four.

“It’s been a hard road,” Berry said. “Now we can forget about last year.”

Senior Nate Britt said the team talked about this day and this feeling for quite some time. “We set a goal and we achieved our dream to get back and make it happen,” he said.

UNC coach Roy Williams said there is no better feeling for a coach than to see his “kids jump around” after a national championship win. Still, he said it didn’t take away the pain of last year because Marcus Paige, Brice Johnson and Joel James didn’t get to experience the feeling.

It was a frustrating feeling for much of the game as the officials called 44 fouls, including 11 in the first four-plus minutes of the second half. Neither team could get any flow on the offense.

As poorly as Carolina shot, less than 36 percent, the Heels held Gonzaga to 34 percent shooting. It was the first time this year that a team shot better than Gonzaga, which finishes the season 37-2.

“Neither team played very well but both teams played really hard,” Coach Williams said. He did praise his team’s second half defense after giving the Zags too many open threes in the first half when Gonzaga took at 35-32 lead at the break.

He admittedly blessed his team out at the half and reminded them that the Heels led by five at the half in last year’s finals and Villanova came out hungrier and wound up winning.

This year, Carolina scored the first eight points of the second half, highlighted by four points and an assist by Berry.

But Gonzaga came back to take a 43-40 lead, and the lead went back and forth setting up a hectic and emotional last few minutes. There were 12 lead changes and 11 ties during the game.

With Carolina holding a 59-57 lead and less than five minutes remaining, the Tar Heels seemingly got the ball back with a lead. But officials, incorrectly, ruled that a Williams-Goss three-point shot went off Pinson’s hand out of bounds. After giving the ball back to Gonzaga, Williams-Goss knocked in a three, giving the Zags a 60-59 lead with 4:30 left.

Seconds later, Berry drained a three to give the lead back to Carolina at 62-60.

Another Williams-Goss bucket put Gonzaga up 65-63 with 1:50 left, setting up Carolina’s 8-0 run that gave the Heels the title.

“Isaiah knocked in a big shot and Kennedy got a big block,” said Berry, who said he almost started to cry after he threw it to Jackson for the game-clinching dunk.

Hicks, who scored 13, said that the feeling was 180 degrees different from last year. “What we worked for was finally here. It’s surreal,” he said.

Carolina finishes the season of redemption at 33-7. There will be a celebration at the Smith Center at about 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.

For more on the game – including a box score, video highlights and additional commentary – please click here.

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UNC finds a (new) way to get to title game

North Carolina coach Roy Williams said it’s amazing to get to national championship for a second straight year and the Tar Heels found a new way to get there – by missing free throws. “Relieved, lucky, fortunate but we’re still playing,” Coach Williams said. With a one-point lead, the Tar Heels missed four free throws in the last six seconds but twice were able to get the ball back to run out the time and defeat Oregon 77-76 to advance to Monday night’s title game against Gonzaga. After a hobbled Joel Berry hit a three from the right wing to […]

North Carolina coach Roy Williams said it’s amazing to get to national championship for a second straight year and the Tar Heels found a new way to get there – by missing free throws.

“Relieved, lucky, fortunate but we’re still playing,” Coach Williams said.

With a one-point lead, the Tar Heels missed four free throws in the last six seconds but twice were able to get the ball back to run out the time and defeat Oregon 77-76 to advance to Monday night’s title game against Gonzaga.

After a hobbled Joel Berry hit a three from the right wing to put the Heels up 71-62 with 5:50 left, Carolina didn’t score a field goal the rest of the way.

The Heels hit six of eight free throws to go up 77-71 with less than a minute to go.

But Oregon’s Dorsey hit a big three that banged on the iron four times before falling in with 42 seconds left to make it a one-possession game at 77-74.

Carolina ran the clock down before Theo Pinson missed a shot with time running down. Oregon rushed it up and scored a bucket to make it 77-76 with six seconds to go.

On the inbounds, Kennedy Meeks, who had been the hero of the game for the Heels, was fouled and went to the line for two free throws. He missed them both but Pinson was able to knife in to knock the ball out to Berry, who was fouled with four seconds left.

And, Berry, who hits 81 percent of his foul shots, missed both of them. This time Meeks reached in and grabbed the rebound, throwing it out to Pinson who dribbled out the clock.

Meeks scored a season-high 25 points and hauled in a game-high 14 rebounds to lead the Heels. With Berry hitting only two of 14 shots and with fellow big man Isaiah Hicks having perhaps his worst game of the season by scoring a mere one of 12, Coach Williams said Carolina “needed Kennedy to score more today.”

He not only scored a lot of points, he scored a lot of big points. Carolina trailed 30-22 in the first half – the Heels largest deficit of the game and in the NCAA Tournament – before going on a 17-6 run.

During the run, Meeks got open inside and Nate Britt found him for a bucket that gave the Tar Heels a 37-36 lead. Carolina never trailed again.

Up 39-36 at the half, the Heels extended the margin to eight after Justin Jackson hit a three in transition three minutes into the second half to make it 46-38.

Free throws by Jackson after a steal gave Carolina a nine-point lead at 56-47 with under 13 minutes to go.

A Meeks bucket inside, on a dish from Pinson, gave the Heels their largest lead of the game at 66-56 with 8:30 to go. It never got down to a one-possession game until the hectic last minute.

Other than the tp out and rebound in the closing seconds, Coach Williams pointed to Meeks and Jackson making the difference. “Kennedy contributed everything inside and Justin made three big threes in the second half,” he said. Jackson finished with 22 points.

Coach Williams was also happy with Carolina’s defense, particularly in the second half, but he noted that Oregon didn’t shoot as well as the Ducks normally do plus the Heels fouled to send Oregon to the line. As a result, the Ducks hit 15 of 16 free throws down the stretch to stay in it, making it ironic that Carolina’s missed free throws may have actually helped the Heels.

The Tar Heels practice offensive rebounding on missed free throws and tip-out drills every day, Coach Williams said.

In order to beat Gonzaga Monday night, he knows the Tar Heels need to play better though rather than relying on new ways to win.

“Joel didn’t play very well but he got through the game without hurting his ankle,” Coach Williams said. “I’m hoping he plays better Monday night.”

Carolina, now 32-7, plays Gonzaga for the national championship Monday starting at 9:20 p.m.

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

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NCAA academic case hovers over UNC at another Final Four

North_Carolina_Academic_Probe_28327

North Carolina athletic director Bubba Cunningham has stopped trying to project when the NCAA case tied to the school’s multi-year academic scandal will reach a conclusion. …read more

Source:: WRAL

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Luke Maye enters UNC lore with game winner

North Carolina’s Luke Maye went long stretches without playing much this season. But the Tar Heels needed the sophomore to keep the season going. Maye swished a 19-footer in the last second to give the Heels a 75-73 victory over Kentucky to advance to the Final Four for the second year in a row. Maye, the South Region’s Most Outstanding Player, hit the game winner after Kentucky had hit three three-pointers in the last 47 seconds to tie the game at 73. Malik Monk, who lit up the Heels for 47 in the regular season, hit a three from the […]

North Carolina’s Luke Maye went long stretches without playing much this season. But the Tar Heels needed the sophomore to keep the season going.

Maye swished a 19-footer in the last second to give the Heels a 75-73 victory over Kentucky to advance to the Final Four for the second year in a row.

Maye, the South Region’s Most Outstanding Player, hit the game winner after Kentucky had hit three three-pointers in the last 47 seconds to tie the game at 73.

Malik Monk, who lit up the Heels for 47 in the regular season, hit a three from the top of the key with seven seconds left. The Heels got the ball in quickly and Theo Pinson raced down the court. Pinson penetrated the lane and then dropped it back to Maye who banged it in.

“I just wanted to shoot it like I do everyday in practice,” Maye said on the court before the Tar Heels clipped down the nets.

Kennedy Meeks, who had a career-high 17 rebounds, said he wasn’t surprised by Maye’s shot and tournament performance. “He shoots it like that all the time in practice,” he said. “Luke stepped up big time to help us get this win.”

Teammate Justin Jackson, who led the Heels with 19 points, said that Maye’s success shows that “with hard work you can be a great player.”

As against Arkansas earlier in the NCAA Tournament, North Carolina was down in the late stages and went on a run.

Trailing 64-59 with five minutes to go after leading most of the game, Carolina went on a 12-0 run to take a 71-64 lead with less than a minute to go.

Pinson started the scoring with a runner to cut the deficit to 64-61. After a defensive stop, after Kentucky had scored on 12 straight possessions to take the five-point lead, Jackson hit a 12 footer to cut it to 64-63 with 3:46 left.

A Meeks block on the other end led to a Pinson run out. He was fouled and after a TV timeout, he hit two free throws to give Carolina the lead at 65-64 with 3:22 to go.

After yet another defensive stop, Maye was fouled and he hit both ends of a one-and-one situation to put the Heels up 67-64 with 2:41 left.

Kentucky missed a three and Maye got the rebound. The Heels ran the shot clock down and Joel Berry, playing on two bad ankles, drove and scored high off the backboard to put Carolina up 69-64 with 1:45 to go.

A Monk miss led to a Kentucky foul on Pinson, who got the rebound. Pinson hit both ends of a one-and-one to give the Heels a commanding 71-64 lead with 53.5 seconds left.

That’s when Kentucky went on the three-point barrage outscoring the Heels 9-2 to tie it before Maye hit the winner.

With less than a second left, Kentucky threw the ball all the way down the court out of bounds. UNC threw the ball in and the game ended and the celebration began.

Maye scored a career-high 17 after scoring a career-high 16 in the previous game.

The Tar Heels outshot Kentucky, 46 to 42 percent, and outrebounded the Wildcats 44 to 34.

Carolina, now 31-7, plays Oregon Saturday night for the right to play for the national title.

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

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Berry’s back, Maye shines as Heels advance

North Carolina’s Joel Berry, hampered by a bad ankle, returned to form and sub Luke Maye had his best game as the Tar Heels stopped Bulter 92-80 to advance to the Elite Eight.

Berry hit from outside and drove to the basket to lead all scorers with 26 points. His seven points during a 14-0 run early in the game helped open it up. Carolina led just 13-12 when the Heels went on the run.

A Maye three gave the Tar Heels their biggest lead of the first half at 30-14 midway through the half.

Carolina hit eight of its nine threes in the first half to take a commanding 52-36 lead at the break.

Maye hit three of them and finished the game with a career high 16 points and 12 rebounds. “I just wanted to get to an open spot and my teammates found me,” Maye said.

In the second half, the Heels got the lead as high as 20 several times – the first being a Berry drive by layup that made it 63-43 with 14:38 to go.

A 13-4 Butler run midway through the half cut the lead to 11. It got as close as 10 at 76-66 with six minutes to go as the Heels had troubles from the foul line (at one point going just six of 14 in the second half).

A pair of free throws by Nate Britt, in a one-and-one situation, seemed to right the ship and the game never seemed to be in doubt again.

“It’s a game of runs,” said Justin Jackson, who scored 24. “We tried to stay focused and stay poised, as coach likes to say.

Though Jackson and Berry scored more than Maye, they both gave him a lot of credit for the win. Jackson said he was huge and the Heels need him to keep it up. Berry said Maye gives the Heels an advantage to have a big guy who can step back for a three or open up the spacing to allow the guards to drive.

Coach Roy Williams didn’t seem surprised by Maye’s effort. “What Luke did today, we see a lot at practice,” he said. “He gave us a big lift.”

Coach Williams said Maye is a good shooter and rebounder with a lot of savvy. “But he’s going to be successful because of what he has in his brain and his heart,” he said.

The other big guys didn’t contribute as much offensively but Kennedy meeks did haul in 11 rebounds. Meanwhile Isaiah Hicks fouled out with nine points in 17 minutes of play.

The Tar Heels shot 54.4 percent for game compared to 43.5 for the Bulldogs. Plus, the Heels outrebounded Butler 38-26.

Carolina, now 30-7, play the winner of UCLA-Kentucky on Sunday afternoon.

For a box score, a video and more commentary, please click here.

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Heels need 12-0 late run to survive Arkansas

North Carolina, despite leading by 17 in the first half, needed a 12-0 run at the end of the game to defeat Arkansas 72-65 to advance to the Sweet 16. The Tar Heels trailed 65-60 with more than three minutes left and it particularly looked bad for Carolina after four straight turnovers. Then Joel Berry missed a three and Isaiah Hicks’ shot was blocked. But Carolina locked down defensively. “We did a good job of forcing them into bad shots late,” Berry said. While UNC hit six of its last seven shots, Arkansas missed all of its last seven shots. […]

North Carolina, despite leading by 17 in the first half, needed a 12-0 run at the end of the game to defeat Arkansas 72-65 to advance to the Sweet 16.

The Tar Heels trailed 65-60 with more than three minutes left and it particularly looked bad for Carolina after four straight turnovers. Then Joel Berry missed a three and Isaiah Hicks’ shot was blocked.

But Carolina locked down defensively. “We did a good job of forcing them into bad shots late,” Berry said.

While UNC hit six of its last seven shots, Arkansas missed all of its last seven shots.

During the game-ending run, Berry and Hicks each hit both ends of one-and-one free throw situations. Hicks’ second free throw gave the Heels the lead a 66-65 with 1:44 to play.

After Carolina forced a errant long three at the end of the shot clock, Kennedy Meeks came up with perhaps the biggest play of the game. A driving Berry threw up a wild shot at the end of the shot clock. UNC’s bench thought Berry was fouled while Arkansas’ bench thought Berry charged. Nothing was called and the shot bounded high of the backboard when Meeks tipped the rebound in with his left hand to give the Heels a 68-65 lead with just 45 seconds to play.

Meeks said Berry showed great desire and determination to get the ball up. “I happened to be in the right position,” he said.

Arkansas missed a pair of free throws and then missed a three before Hicks was fouled. He hit both free throws to wrap it up at 70-65 with 10 seconds left. After forcing a turnover, Justin Jackson went in for a dunk to finish off the scoring.

“Sometimes you need a game like that,” Berry said. “We know we can win a game when we’re down by five with three minutes to go.”

And the Tar Heels did it with their two top scorers – Berry and Jackson – hitting just seven of their 27 shots. Plus Carolina turned the ball over 17 times.

“We were lucky but we were unlucky there for a while,” UNC coach Roy Williams said. “I liked how tough and focused we were… I love the way we competed.”

Carolina flew out to a commanding 30-13 lead. The Heels were getting the ball to the hoop to go along with three threes.

But a 15-2 Arkansas run, led by Daryl Macon off the bench, pulled the Razorbacks to within four at 32-28.

Carolina still led 38-33 at the half and the Heels extended the lead to nine at the start of the second half.

But Arkansas’ defense rattled Carolina and the Heels helped by taking and missing four straight three-point shots. In no time, Arkansas led 50-46. While it was tied twice after that, Carolina didn’t take the lead again until that Hicks free throw with 1:44 left.

Meeks led the Tar Heels with 16 points and 11 rebounds while Jackson scored 15 points and stole the ball five times.

The Tar Heels, now 29-7, play Butler in a Sweet 16 game Friday.

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

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Jackson’s shot is back in Heels blowout win

Since he was named the ACC’s top player, UNC’s Justin Jackson had gone cold, hitting only a third of his shots and missing nearly all of his three pointers. In the first round of the NCAA Tournament, Jackson re-discovered his shooting touch, draining five threes as the Heels whipped Texas Southern 103-64. Jackson scored 19 of his team-high 21 in the first half when the Tar Heels were putting the game away early. Trailing 10-8, North Carolina went on a 16-0 run in fewer than four minutes to take control. During the stretch, Jackson hit his first three of the […]

Since he was named the ACC’s top player, UNC’s Justin Jackson had gone cold, hitting only a third of his shots and missing nearly all of his three pointers. In the first round of the NCAA Tournament, Jackson re-discovered his shooting touch, draining five threes as the Heels whipped Texas Southern 103-64.

Jackson scored 19 of his team-high 21 in the first half when the Tar Heels were putting the game away early.

Trailing 10-8, North Carolina went on a 16-0 run in fewer than four minutes to take control. During the stretch, Jackson hit his first three of the game.

“We got off to a good start,” UNC coach Roy Williams said. “That big run was good for us.”

But the biggest takeaway from the game? Seeing Jackson put the ball through the hoop, Coach Williams said. He said he had a conversation with Jackson about how he was putting too much pressure on himself.

Other than outrebounding the much shorter Texas Southern team 54-27, the other key for the Tar Heels was simply playing defense without fouling, Coach Williams said. Carolina went to the line 10 more times than the opponent.

Offensively, six Tar Heels scored in double figures. After Jackson’s 21 points, Isaiah Hicks scored 17 points in only 17 minutes. Kennedy Meeks added 13 while Tony Bradley chipped in 12. Both Nate Britt and Luke Maye, who led the Heels with nine rebounds, tallied 10 points.

A scary moment in the game came when UNC’s Joel Berry twisted an ankle and had to leave for the lockerroom. He returned later and played a couple of minutes before bowing out to the subs. It wasn’t a stellar game for Berry who hit only one of eight shots but the one he hit was a three at the first-half buzzer that gave UNC its largest lead of the first half at 52-27.

Carolina’s largest lead of the game came late when seldom-used sub Kanler Coker, a senior, tightroped the baseline for a reverse layup that sent the bench into a frenzy and gave the Heels a 101-61 lead.

The Tar Heels, now 28-7, play Arkansas in the second round of the tournament in Greenville, S.C.

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

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UNC’s Scott set tone for Carolina basketball

Brown: Charlie Scott's 'game-changing' impact still felt 50 years later

This year marks 50 years since the first African-American scholarship athlete took the court at North Carolina. Charlie Scott changed the game, the New York City native changed Carolina basketball forever. …read more

Source:: WRAL

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UNC, Hicks roll past Miami in ACC Tourney

North Carolina responded to a cold-shooting first half by ACC Player of the Year Justin Jackson and a late first-half run by Miami by blowing past the Hurricanes in the second half for a 78-53 victory. (3/4) The Tar Heels opened up a 34-29 halftime lead by outscoring Miami by 20 points in the second half. A 14-5 run early in the second half provided the Heels some separation. During the run Jackson and Joel Berry drained their first threes of the game to get back on track and help Isaiah Hicks, who had carried the Heels with 11 points […]

North Carolina responded to a cold-shooting first half by ACC Player of the Year Justin Jackson and a late first-half run by Miami by blowing past the Hurricanes in the second half for a 78-53 victory. (3/4)

The Tar Heels opened up a 34-29 halftime lead by outscoring Miami by 20 points in the second half. A 14-5 run early in the second half provided the Heels some separation.

During the run Jackson and Joel Berry drained their first threes of the game to get back on track and help Isaiah Hicks, who had carried the Heels with 11 points in the first half.

Hicks, who sank all nine of his free throw shots, led the way with 19 points for the game while Jackson, who had just two points at the half, finished with 12 points and Berry chipped in 11. Kennedy Meeks closed out the double figure scoring with 10 points.

The Tar Heels had lost at Miami in late January but it was North Carolina’s defense that made the difference this time around. The Hurricanes turned the ball over 15 times including nine Carolina steals, and the Tar Heels held Miami to just 37 percent shooting.

The Tar Heels held Miami to just seven points over the last nine minutes of the game, while scoring 19 themselves during that time.

Hicks said Carolina had an attitude change this time around. “We really got after them,” he said.

Meanwhile the Tar Heels hit 53 percent of their shots. They were seven of 17 from beyond the arc, while they had 21 assists in 28 made field goals. Carolina was also solid at the free throw line, hitting 15 of 18.

The Tar Heels, who were outrebounded at Miami, this time outrebounded the Hurricanes 36-29.

Bruce Brown, a freshman, led all scorers with 21 points for the Hurricanes, who fall to 21-11.

The Tar Heels, who improve to 27-6 overall, advance to Friday night’s tournament tilt against the winner of Louisville-Duke.

For a box score, video highlights and more comments, please click here.