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Moore, NCSU women’s basketball coach, to speak at Raleigh Sports Club

Wes Moore.

Wes Moore.

Wes Moore will discuss his first season as the NC State women’s head basketball coach at the March 26 Raleigh Sports Club meeting. He’ll also look ahead to the next season and the future of the program.

The RSC will also welcome local Wake County student athlete Jon Jones, who plays basketball for the champion Apex High School. He will be honored as the student athlete of the week for outstanding achievement in the classroom, community and on the field.

Meetings are held in Bradley Hall in Highland UMC, 1901 Ridge Road at the intersection of Lake Boone Trail, just inside the Raleigh Beltline. Buffet lines open at 11:30 a.m. and the meeting starts at 12 noon. See http://www.raleighsportsclub.org/ for details.

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Carolina certainly messed up late but a game shouldn’t end on a timing issue

clockThere were two or three plays late that hurt Carolina, that’s for sure. But a game shouldn’t end on a clock snafu.

The play that started Iowa State’s late run was Marcus Paige’s hurried three-point shot with about four minutes left. Carolina should have taken time off the clock and should have gotten a better look.

Paige took blame for the loss for a turnover he made in the last minute of the game but there is no guarantee Carolina would have scored on that play. But there was a guarantee that Carolina could have taken time off the clock with four minutes left and gotten a better shot. That was a bigger error.

UNC was up by eight and a bucket of any sort, three or not, could have been a big blow to Iowa State. Instead Iowa State quickly got the ball up the court and hit a three. What could have been an 11 or 10 point lead was instead five.

On Carolina’s very next possession the Heels turned it over on a foul. I’m not necessarily saying that McAdoo didn’t foul on the offensive end without the ball, but that’s a strange call for an official to make anyway, much less that late in a game.

The perfect storm continued on the next possession. After a Nate Britt miss, Kennedy Meeks had a chance for a relatively easy rebound stick back and he rushed it without fully controlling the ball and the tip missed.

North Carolina had every chance to win the game – well, make that almost every chance. After the final bucket, UNC players should have called a timeout. Of course the officials should have known Coach Williams was calling a timeout.

Yes, the clock should have started when Carolina inbounded the ball but once that ship has sailed it seems unfair to simply call the game over. If officials can look at the video to check the clock, it seems they could also look at the coach calling timeout.

A game should not end like that. A season should not end like that.

If you have the game on tape, go back to the 15.7 second mark after McAdoo tied the game at 83-all. The clock failed to start for about one or two seconds after an Iowa State player touched the inbounds pass. If you are going to call a game over when there is time left on the clock because there shouldn’t have been time left on the clock, it seems you would be a stickler with 15.7 seconds left also.

In fact, there were times throughout the game where the clock didn’t start accurately yet it’s only a problem at the end.

Could you imagine an NFL playoff game ending because the officials said the clock should have started and didn’t so one team doesn’t get to attempt a field goal even though there is time left?

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Tough season for UNC ends on tough shot, no last-second chance

uncbasketballclipartNorth Carolina fought adversity before the season, during the season and in the last game of season.

With a key player sidelined by injury and players in foul trouble, the Tar Heels came from behind to take an eight-point lead late, only to see Iowa State hit seven of its last eight shots to eliminate UNC from the NCAA Tournament 85-83. (3/23)

The last shot, by Iowa State’s DeAndre Kane, came with 1.6 seconds left to win it.

UNC’s James Michael McAdoo had hit two free throws with 15.7 seconds left to tie the score before Kane hit a driving, high-off-the-backboard shot that won it.

What made the loss even more devastating for Carolina was a clock snafu after the Kane shot and the fact that officials didn’t see UNC coach Roy Williams calling for a timeout. After several minutes of viewing the video, officials said that the game clock should have started and didn’t and proclaimed the game over.

UNC senior Leslie McDonald said that “it hit us hard” that the Heels didn’t get a chance to score after Iowa State’s late bucket but neither he nor Williams blamed the officials. “Kane just hit an unbelievable shot,” McDonald said.

McAdoo, who now must endure the speculation that he might go pro, agreed. “We played it really well. He just hit a tough shot,” McAdoo said.

Kane dominated much of the game, scoring a game-high 24 points. But it took a pair of threes by ISU’s Naz Long late to put Kane in the situation to win it.

“They made plays down the stretch that they needed to make,” Williams said.

North Carolina’s Bryce Johnson played only two minutes before twisting his ankle and having to sit out the rest of the game.

For more on the game, please click here.

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State’s Gwiazdowski upsets reigning wrestling champ for NCAA title

Nick Gwiazdowski.

Nick Gwiazdowski.

NC State’s Nick Gwiazdowski upset two-time defending champion Tony Nelson of Minnesota 4-2 in the heavyweight finals of the NCAA Wrestling Tournament.

The No. 2 seeded Gwiazdowski got two take downs, clinching the match with the second with less than half a minute left.

Nelson beat Gwiazdowski 1-0 earlier in the year and after a scoreless first period this time, Nelson was able to stay on top of Gwiazdowski the entire second period to score one point and got a second point for riding time.

Gwiazdowski started the final period on his feet, rather than the bottom position that cost him in the second period. He was able to take Nelson down at the 1:30 mark. Following an injury timeout for Nelson, who tweaked an ankle, Gwiadzdowski got that second take down near the end to win it.

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UNC beats No. 1 Maryland in big lacrosse matchup

unclacrosseSixth-ranked North Carolina’s efficient offense, combined with an outstanding defensive effort, led the Tar Heels to an 11-8 victory over top-ranked Maryland in men’s lacrosse action Saturday afternoon at Kenan Stadium before a crowd of 6,135.

This marked the second straight year UNC has knocked the Terps when they were the No. 1 team in the nation. A year ago, Carolina beat the Terps at Byrd Stadium 10-8 on March 23, 2013. It also marked the third successive year Carolina has beaten a #1 team (it also beat Johns Hopkins in 2012) after having not knocked one off since 1996.

North Carolina ran its offense well, scoring 11 times on 31 shots and committing only 10 turnovers. UNC also benefitted from a perfect 16 for 16 in the clearing game and the Tar Heels scored twice on three EMO chances.

Both teams exhibited balanced offensive attacks. Pat Foster and Joey Sankey each had two goals and two assists for UNC and Shane Simpson had two goals and a helper. Chad Tutton, Jimmy Bitter, Spencer Parks, Jake Bailey and Walker Chafee also scored for UNC. An extra-man goal by Chafee with 3:40 to play in the second quarter put Carolina ahead for good at 5-4. Maryland crept within one goal three times in the second half but could never get an equalizer.

Connor Cannizzaro led the Terps with two goals an assist while Colin Heacock scored twice for Maryland. Mike Chanenchuk had a goal and an assist for the Terps.

Maryland’s Charlie Raffa dominated the face-off circle for the Terps, winning 16 of 23 draws and that helped Maryland seize a 35-26 edge in ground balls. But UNC’s defense was a key factor in Maryland committing 16 turnovers, 10 of them forced, and the Terps hurt themselves with an 0-for-4 performance on the extra-man. The Terps had come into the game at 50 percent on the extra-man for the season but Carolina’s man-down unit play proved to be a key to the game.

Maryland fell to 7-1 overall with the loss and the Terps are 2-1 in the ACC heading into a home game against Virginia in eight days. Carolina improved to 7-2 overall and 1-2 in the ACC and will next be in action at Johns Hopkins next Saturday.

Maryland’s offense had scored in double figures in every game this season and came into the game averaging 13.14 goals per game. Carolina goalkeeper Kieran Burke continued his outstanding play of the last two weeks as he made 12 saves and had three ground balls. Niko Amato went the whole way for Maryland in the cage, making eight saves.

Joey Sankey, Austin Pifani and Mark McNeill each had two caused turnovers for UNC while Pat Foster and Zach Powers each had four ground balls. Both players had career highs for ground balls. McNeill added three ground balls to the UNC total. Raffa led the Terrapins with eight ground balls while Amato had six and defenseman Michael Ehrhardt five.

Carolina opened the scoring when Joey Sankey scored in transition off a Pat Foster assist a little less than two minutes into the game. Maryland answered quickly with goals by Heacock and Cannizzaro before Foster and Tutton struck for back-to-back unassisted tallies to put the Heels up 3-2 at the end of the first quarter.

Sankey’s goal ran his consecutive game streak with at least one point to 30 in a row and he has now scored goals in 27 of the past 30 matches. Tutton has scored at least one goal in 20 of the past 21 games and 33 of the past 35 contests.

Neither team found the back of the net in the opening half of the second quarter but Maryland put together back to back goals by Cannizzaro and Ehrhardt 12 seconds apart to seize a 4-3 lead with 7:12 left before intermission. That would be Maryland’s last lead of the game.

Carolina ran off the last three goals of the half. Shane Simpson evened the game off a Sankey feed at 6:14. At 3:52, Maryland’s Casey Ikeda was banished from the field for a minute for an illegal body check and UNC cashed in just 12 seconds later when Chafee scored his third extra-man goal in the last two games off an assist by Foster. UNC ran its lead to 6-4 at the half when Bitter’s initial shot was saved by Amato but the ball bounced right to Spencer Parks who dunked it from two yards away.

Maryland outscored the Tar Heels 3-2 in the third quarter but never got the game tied. A goal by Chanenchuk just 45 seconds into the half was matched by Carolina’s Foster less than two minutes later. Brian Cooper scored a fast break goal off an Amato assist at 9:18 but Simpson responded for UNC just 1:03 later. The final goal of the third quarter came at 3:20 as Cannizzaro fed Joe LoCascio.

Carolina stretched its lead to three at 10-7 with a pair of goals in the opening six minutes of the final stanza. Joey Sankey scored for the Heels in a timer-on situation off a feed by Simpson at 10:21 and then 50 seconds later Bitter dodged from the right side and beat Amato for a three-goal cushion. Bitter has now recorded a point in 35 straight games and scored goals in 30 of the past 32 outings.

Marylan’s Heacock found himself alone on the crease for a back-handed putaway at 8:41 to pull the Terps within two. Less than a minute later, Tim Rotanz turned the ball over and Jake Bailey scooped up and went coast to coast to score with 7:45 to play. It was his second career goal.

Down the stretch Burke made saves at 4:21 on a shot by Cannizzaro and at 1:52 on a shot by Henry West to keep the Terps at bay. Carolina’s offense then killed off all but 13 seconds of the final two minutes to close out the victory.

The Tar Heels have now beaten the Terps in five-straight regular-season meetings, a feat UNC has matched only one other time from 1990-94. Carolina also improved to 4-0 in games played at Kenan Stadium over the past two seasons.

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Tar Heels win NCAA thriller with – surprise, surprise – free throws at the end

James Michael McAdoo.

James Michael McAdoo.

North Carolina, which led by nine midway through the second half, trailed by seven late but outscored Providence 15-6 over the last four minutes to advance in the NCAA Tournament 79-77.

It took free throws by James Michael McAdoo, much maligned for his free throw shooting during the season, in the closing seconds to win it for the Tar Heels.

Trailing 71-64, UNC’s Brice Johnson got free for a dunk to pull the Heels within five. Carolina’s pressure defense stopped the Friars and Johnson hit a short jumper in the lane seconds later to make it 71-68.

Johnson followed up the offensive spurt with a blocked shot on the defensive end that led to a Marcus Paige three from the top of the key to tie it with just over three minutes left.

Twice Providence, behind Bryce Cotton (36 points on the night), got the lead back up to three. But Carolina came back both times. The first time JP Tokoto converted an old-fashioned three-point play when he hit a hanging in the air, across his body, off the backboard shot in the lane.

The second time Paige swished another three, this one shaded to the left of the key, to tie it at 77-all with 1:06 left.

Johnson came up with another good defensive play with 35 seconds left when he bothered a shot and came away with a rebound.

Carolina held for a last shot. Johnson got the ball down low and put up a shot with six seconds left. The shot was a wild one but McAdoo got the offensive rebound with 3.5 seconds left and was fouled.

It took officials three minutes to determine how much time was left on the clock. Then Providence coach Ed Cooley called a timeout to further ice McAdoo, who shoots only 54 percent from the line.

McAdoo’s high-arching shot swished through the net to give Carolina a 78-77 lead. The second free throw was long and McAdoo got his own rebound and was fouled with 1.7 seconds left. This time it only took officials two minutes to determine the time.

McAdoo again swished the first free throw but missed the second free throw. Providence’s Cotton got his hand on the rebound but it went out of bounds with less than a second left.

Carolina inbounded it to advance to the Round of 32 and move to 24-9 on the season.

While McAdoo hit only two of four free throws at the end, it was enough and ironically the two misses may have been positives in eating clock.

To read more on the game, please click here.

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Providence coach says his team deserved to beat “the almighty blue bloods”

Coach Ed Cooley.

Coach Ed Cooley.

Not sure Providence coach Ed Cooley meant to be condescending to North Carolina after the Tar Heels defeated his team 79-77. But he was.

Most coaches praise the other team after a loss. Cooley said, “Nobody even thought our guys would be here to play the almighty blue bloods… I thought we deserved to win. But you’ve got to get lucky at the right time and we didn’t.”

Hmmm. He’d be a good coach for one of Carolina’s chief rivals. Calling someone a “blue blood” isn’t considered a positive. Neither is calling the other team lucky.

Perhaps his team deserved to win but not any more than the Tar Heels deserved to win.

He did say it was a well-played game. Of course he made a point to say it was a well-officiated game as well. It was the first time that the Tar Heels have seen that crew. UNC coach Roy Williams and the Carolina faithful didn’t seem as impressed with the officials.

By the way Cooley, who has a skin condition that prevents hair from growing in certain spots on the back of his head, has lost more than 100 pounds.

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Duke wilts at the end, ousted from NCAA tourney

dukelogoDuke, a No. 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament, fell to Mercer, a No. 14 seed, as the Blue Devils once again wilted at the end of a game – except this time it proved to be the end of the season as the Blue Devils fell 78-71.

Mercer, an experienced team with seven seniors, outscored Duke, a talented but young team, 20-8 down the stretch. The Blue Devils, relying heavily on the three-point shot went cold in the second half.

Duke led by five points with four and a half minutes to go before Mercer went on an 11-0 run to go up 69-63 and never looked back.

The Blue Devils were playing what should have been a home-game atmosphere just a few miles from Durham but it was the Mercer Bears that most in the PNC Arena in Raleigh were supporting.

Duke led by as many as seven points in the first half but took only a 35-34 lead into the locker room. The lead went back and forth over the first 10 minutes of the second half.

With the score tied at 51, Duke went on a modest 12-7 run to go up 63-58 with just five minutes left. That’s when Mercer outscored Duke 11-0 over the next four minutes to go up 69-63. During the stretch, the Devils turned the ball over twice and missed three three-point shots.

For the game, Duke actually shot better from beyond the arc (15 threes, 40.5 percent) than it did from the floor (35.5 percent).

Five players scored in double figures for Mercer. Duke was led by Quinn Cook’s 23 points while Rasheed Sulaimon added 20. Freshman Jabari Parker scored 14 but he missed 10 of 14 shots from the field, including going 0 from 3 from the three-point line.

Boxscore

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State blows a 16-point lead to bow out of NCAAs

statebballNC State, in command with a 16-point lead with eight minutes to go, could not withstand Saint Louis full-court pressure or hit free throws down the stretch in an 83-80 overtime loss.

State’s TJ Warren scored 28 points but could not hit from the free throw line in regulation or overtime, going six of 14 in addition to committing a lane violation while shooting what would have been a good free throw. He fouled out with 28 seconds left in overtime.

Tyler Lewis had a chance to win it in regulation with a 12-footer than rimmed out at the buzzer.

Saint Louis got out to an early 9-6 lead but didn’t lead again until overtime.

The Pack led by double digits at 30-19 in the first half but went into the half up by only four at 30-26. Quickly the Pack regained control of the game in the second half, working the lead up to 55-39 with 8:11 left, until falling apart at the end.

NC State hit only 20 of 37 free throws for the game, missing six free throws in the last 2:11 of regulation.

State’s Ralston Turner had a chance to send the game into a second overtime with a three at the buzzer but, despite being on line, came up a little short.

Boxscore

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NC State pulls away late behind Warren to advance in NCAAs

TJ Warren.

TJ Warren.

NC State shot 55 percent for the game and pulled away late to defeat Xavier 74-59 in the NCAA Tournament.

It looked bad for the Pack early as TJ Warren rolled an ankle and picked up his second foul. The Pack managed to lead throughout the first half and led by 34-28 at the half.

Xavier had the lead down to 45-42 before Warren scored in bunches, including once on a steal and dunk and once getting out front on the fast break for another dunk on a long feed from Tyler Lewis, who had eight assists on the night.

The Pack went on a 13-5 run to take a 58-47 lead with eight minutes to go. State got the lead up to 17 before settling for the 15-point win.

Warren got 16 of his game-high 25 points in the second half to help open it up. He passed David Thompson as NC State’s single-season points leader with 843 points. Thompson had 838 in 1975 while Rodney Monroe at 836 in 1991.

The Wolfpack advances to play Saint Louis in the Round of 64.