Heels survive turnovers to beat Stanford

ASHEVILLE – North Carolina turned the ball over 24 times but made a couple of big plays late to get by Stanford 67-63 to advance to the finals of the Maui Invitational Tournament. (12/1) The Tar Heels clamped down defensively late as Stanford managed to hit just one of its last nine shots. The biggest defensive play of the game proved to be one by UNC freshman Day’Ron Sharpe with the score tied at 60-60. Just after the under four minute official timeout, Sharpe lined up along the baseline to guard the inbounds pass. He timed his jump and tipped […]

ASHEVILLE – North Carolina turned the ball over 24 times but made a couple of big plays late to get by Stanford 67-63 to advance to the finals of the Maui Invitational Tournament. (12/1)

The Tar Heels clamped down defensively late as Stanford managed to hit just one of its last nine shots. The biggest defensive play of the game proved to be one by UNC freshman Day’Ron Sharpe with the score tied at 60-60.

Just after the under four minute official timeout, Sharpe lined up along the baseline to guard the inbounds pass. He timed his jump and tipped the ball to himself. He quickly got it to another freshman, Caleb Love, who weaved and bobbed down the court and stopped and popped in a 12 footer to the left of the lane to give Carolina a 62-60 lead the Heels would never relinquish.

It took a nice offensive play to wrap it up as Leaky Black circled around the key and drove in for a layup on the left side to give Carolina a 66-63 lead with a minute left.

Stanford’s Zaire Williams, a highly recruited freshman, missed a three and Carolina held the ball most of the remainder of the game.

“We muddled around and won the game,” UNC coach Roy Williams said. “We kept trying to make it ugly but at the same time we kept competing.”

Late in the game at crunch time, Carolina had three freshmen on court. Specifically mentioning Sharpe’s tip steal, Coach Williams said “the game was decided on one or two plays.”

Stanford scored 22 points off Carolina’s 24 turnovers but Coach Williams said some of that was offset by Carolina’s 20-rebound advantage. “We wanted to rebound to get qualty shots,” he said, “and we did get good shots and more shots but we turned it over and it about cost us a game.”

The Tar Heels led by as many as six points in the first half but found themselves trailing by four, 33-29, at the half. Carolina didn’t take the lead again until Armando Bacot pulled down an offensive rebound amongst three defenders, went up, scored and was fouled. The three-point play but the Heels up 42-41 with 16:22.

The game went back and forth until that shot by Love that put the Heels up for good late. Love led five Carolina scorers in double figures with 16 points but he hit only 33 percent of his shots. R.J. Davis tallied 11 points while the other starters – Brooks, Black and Bacot – each scored 10.

Carolina, 3-0, will play Texas in the finals of the Maui Invitational at 4 p.m. Wednesday.

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