UVA plays its game to take title over UNC

A deliberate Virginia kept North Carolina a step behind the whole game as the Cavs won their third ACC Tournament Title with a 71-63 victory. The Tar Heels, playing their fourth game in four days, didn’t have enough to get by No. 1 Virginia as the Cavs stuck to their script by slowing the pace, playing tough defense and hitting free throws. Carolina, trailing 34-30 at the half, had a couple of opportunities to tie or take the lead in the second half but could not make the plays. Meanwhile tourney MVP Kyle Guy, who scored 16, did make the […]

A deliberate Virginia kept North Carolina a step behind the whole game as the Cavs won their third ACC Tournament Title with a 71-63 victory.

The Tar Heels, playing their fourth game in four days, didn’t have enough to get by No. 1 Virginia as the Cavs stuck to their script by slowing the pace, playing tough defense and hitting free throws.

Carolina, trailing 34-30 at the half, had a couple of opportunities to tie or take the lead in the second half but could not make the plays. Meanwhile tourney MVP Kyle Guy, who scored 16, did make the plays to keep the Heels at bay.

Guy scored six points, including a couple of long twos after nifty moves, during a 10-3 Virginia run that turned the Heels away for good after they had cut the margin to two.

A 7-0 Carolina run, highlighted by a Berry three from the top of the key, cut a nine-point UVA lead to two at 48-46. After one of just four Virginia turnovers, the Heels had a chance to tie or take the lead. But Berry threw it away well over Theo Pinson’s head.

Then, down 50-47, the Tar Heels had a chance to tie it but Luke Maye, who led all scorers with 20 points, was short on a three-point attempt.

After the 10-3 Virginia run, Carolina never got it closer than five points as the Cavs, who hit 20 of 22 free throws, put the Heels away at the free throw line.

“I felt like we hung in there but you’ve got to do better against Virginia than just hanging in there,” UNC coach Roy Williams said. “They’re really good. We had to play really, really well and we didn’t do that.”

UVA coach Tony Bennett said that his team has an “uncommon chemistry” but it wasn’t lost on him that Carolina may have been a tired team. “I don’t know if we were fresher but we tried to wear ’em down – four games in four days.”

While the Tar Heels played better than they did in the regular season matchup with the Cavs, they couldn’t find the magic they had in tournament wins over Syracuse, Miami and Duke.

For instance, Pinson, who had a career-high 25 points earlier in the tourney, was just one of 10 from the field in this one, including missing all three of his three point attempts. Cam Johnson, who had been scoring in double figures each game, played only 22 minutes due to a sore back and managed only one basket in three attempts.

Joining Maye in double figures for the Heels were Berry, who scored 17, and Kenny Williams, who scored 12.

Maye and Pinson joined UVA’s Guy and Devon Hall, and Duke’s Marvin Bagley on the All-Tourney team.

The Tar Heels, now 25-10, are likely to get a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament while Virginia, 31-2, is almost assured a No. 1 overall seed.

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