Carolina rights ship, wins going away

Underdog Lipscomb led No. 2 seed North Carolina by six in the first half before the Tar Heels settled down and wore down the No. 15 seed winning going away 84-66 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in Charlotte. “We needed to get our feet wet,” UNC’s Theo Pinson said. “When we got going, we got going.” Carolina used a stifling defense and some timely three-point shooting to go on a pair of first-half runs to right the ship. A 13-2 run, highlighted by three pointers from Luke Maye and Kenny Williams took the Tar Heels from six […]

Underdog Lipscomb led No. 2 seed North Carolina by six in the first half before the Tar Heels settled down and wore down the No. 15 seed winning going away 84-66 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in Charlotte.

“We needed to get our feet wet,” UNC’s Theo Pinson said. “When we got going, we got going.”

Carolina used a stifling defense and some timely three-point shooting to go on a pair of first-half runs to right the ship. A 13-2 run, highlighted by three pointers from Luke Maye and Kenny Williams took the Tar Heels from six down to five ahead.

After falling behind again, the Tar Heels went on a 12-1 run over the last 3:44 of the first half to take command at 43-34.

A long three pointer by Cam Johnson to start the second half put Carolina up double digits and Lipscomb never threatened again.

Johnson said the Tar Heels let Lipscomb stay in the game with some turnovers, 11 in the first half and 18 over all. “It’s a 40-minute game, not a five-minute game,” he said. “Things started turning our way.”

Pinson was the sparkplug as he dished out a game-high seven assists, hauled in nine rebounds and scored 15 points, including two coast-to-coast layups.

Williams led all scorers with 18 points as he hit four of five three pointers. All five Tar Heel starters scored in double figures with Berry, Johnson and May adding 14, 12 and 10.

Defensively the Heels wanted to hold the three-point shooting percentage down and they did that as Lipscomb hit just 25 percent from beyond the arc and 35 percent altogether. Carolina also outrebounded Lipscomb 47-29.

The second half lead stayed around 15 points most of the time but an eight-foot Garrison Brooks hook gave the Heels a 19-point lead with five minutes left. Then, with the subs in for the last minute, Shea Rush stole a pass in the open court and went in for a dunk, to the delight of the players on the bench, to give Carolina its biggest lead of the game at 84-61.

The Tar Heels, now 26-10, now play a tough, big Texas A&M team in the second round Sunday.

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