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.