Surging Tar Heels Glide By Demon Deacons 105-72, Earn Ninth Straight Win
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With the loss, the Demon Deacons fell to 14-13 on the season and 4-10 in conference play. With the victory, the Tar Heels have won 20 games for the tenth consecutive time and the 41st time in the last 44 years.
The Tar Heels seized control early on in the contest thanks to efficient balanced scoring that saw six players reach double figures and some lethargic defensive play from the Demon Deacons. At the half, Carolina held a commanding 52-33 lead.
“Four games in eight days is not easy by any means but we’re practicing and guys did a nice job staying focused after that first six or seven minutes of the game, and I thought right before the half we had a nice little run to stretch it out to 19,” UNC Head Coach Roy Williams said after the game.
***Listen to Roy Williams’ postgame remarks***
Wake Forest cut the Tar Heel advantage down to 13 points early in the second half, but Carolina continued to ride its now prolific offense with contributions from Marcus Paige, a resurgent Leslie McDonald, an improving Kennedy Meeks and battling Nate Britt.
All in all, it proved too much for the visiting Demon Deacons as Carolina exacted its revenge from the loss to Wake Forest back in January.
“Our kids have shown a lot greater attention to details. They’ve shown a greater sense of urgency. We’ve played pretty good basketball here in this whole stretch, not just in these eight days,” Coach Williams said.
McDonald led the scoring charge for Carolina with 19 points while Meeks put up 15 points on the afternoon.
Coron Williams recorded a team-leading 19 points for Wake Forest, but it wasn’t nearly enough to keep his team in the contest.
Wake Forest won the opening tip and Arnaud William Adala Moto went right to the rim to stake his team out to a quick 2-0 lead.
Kennedy Meeks didn’t wait long to get on the scoreboard either, evening the contest at 2 with 18:25 to play. He responded to a Wake Forest score with another basket in a fast–paced affair early on.
Both teams were answering baskets back and forth. Meeks was off to a roaring start with a pair of free throw makes to draw even at 6-6 with 16:55 to play in the first half of action.
Leslie McDonald sniped an open three-pointer to get the Tar Heels their first lead of the game at 9-6. Johnson got a bucket quickly after to give UNC the 11-6 advantage and influence a Wake timeout at the 15:58 mark.
Coron Williams netted a shot from behind the arc, but Paige answered the shot on the other end with a three ball of his own to place the score at 16-9 with 13:15 to play in the half.
Tyler Cavanaugh slipped through a pair of Carolina defenders and layed one through the nets to get Wake Forest within 16-13, but Nate Britt popped a score immediately following to jump the lead back out to 18-13.
McAdoo’s athletic slam dunk excited the crowd and gave UNC the 20-13 lead with 10:30 to play in the first half.
A sloppy turnover by Wake handed Carolina the ball. The Tar Heels failed to take advantage of the opportunity.
To the roar of the crowd, struggling Desmond Hubert was able to coax a free throw through the nets.
With 8:20 remaining in the half, Carolina held a 26-16 lead.
McDonald’s fine play carried over from the Duke game as he knocked down another deep shot to earn a 29-16 advantage for the Tar Heels with 7:41 on the first half clock.
J.P. Tokoto made a quick move and found some open space to take an open shot, which he made. The Tar Heel offense was clicking on all cylinders now.
Williams floated in a shot that was much needed for the Demon Deacons. It cut the deficit down to 17 points at 35-18 with 5:44 to go before halftime.
Paige worked his way to the foul line and knocked down all three of his shots to extend the lead out even further, but Aaron Rountree answered with a make on the other end and Williams followed to keep Wake Forest right in the game, only trailing 37-22 with 4:30 to play in the half.
Brice Johnson broke the 6-0 Demon Deacon run, but the shots were not falling for the Tar Heels as the first half was coming to an end, allowing Wake to rally back to within shouting distance.
But Meeks took the game back over with scores on back-to-back possessions. His efforts, along with Johnson’s eager plays gave UNC the 45-28 lead with 2:12 to play before halftime.
McAdoo knocked down a beautiful jumper to match Wake’s Williams’ make. McDonald fought his way to the free throw line and converted on both attempts.
Jackson Simmons made a pair of foul shots to close out the half. The Tar Heels jogged into the locker room with the commanding 52-33 lead.
The halftime score sheet showed UNC shooting at a 53 percent clip from the floor while Wake Forest shot 47 percent.
Meeks and McDonald led the scoring charge for Carolina with 12 and 11 points, respectively. Williams posted 14 points to lead Wake Forest shooters.
After an opening score by the Demon Deacons, Meeks picked up where he left off in the first half, diving to the basket for a score.
McDonald knocked down a deep jumper to keep pace with Meeks on the stats sheet. With 17:18 to play, Carolina was up 20 points, 57-37.
Devin Thomas wrapped the ball around the rim and through the nets as Wake Forest began to find its range on the offensive side of things. The lead was trimmed down to 16 points.
Paige knocked down a three-pointer, and the Tar Heels led 61-45 with 15:11 to play.
McDonald popped another three-pointer at the 13:32 mark in the second half to push the home team out to a 67-48 advantage.
Cavanaugh responded with an impressive make for Wake to close the gap back down to 69-51 with 12:15 on the second half clock.
But the scoring was coming from everywhere now for Carolina. A score by Britt and a dunk by Johnson proved that for the surging Tar Heels who were up 73-51 with 11:22 to play.
Wake Forest took advantage of little let-up in intensity by UNC, finding holes in the defense and converting in the paint. The score stood at 84-61 in favor of the Tar Heels with 7:56 to play.
Even Wade Moody came off the bench to knock down a three-pointer for Carolina late in the game.
The versatile play of Carolina continued down the stretch in the Smith Center as the Tar Heels exerted their dominance, displaying the kind of form that could make them a threat to anyone in the country come March.
Next up for Carolina is a Wednesday trip over to Raleigh to face the N.C. State Wolfpack for an 8 p.m. tipoff.
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