Tar Heels Can’t Keep Pace With Hot-Shooting Cavaliers, Fall 76-61
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With the win, Virginia improved to 15-4 overall and 5-1 in the conference.
It was a back-and-forth affair inside rowdy John Paul Jones Arena early on, but Virginia pulled away late in the first half with an 8-0 run before the break. And some hot shooting to open the second half earned the home team a 15-point commanding lead that they never relinquished.
UVA’s Michael Brogdon led the scoring charge for the Cavaliers with 16 points while standout guard Joe Harris matched him with 16 points of his own, including a trio of three-pointers.
Carolina struggled to sustain any kind of momentum on the offensive end and could not provide any answers on defense for the Cavalier scoring barrage.
One of the lone bright spots on the night for Carolina was freshman Kennedy Meeks, who posted a team-leading 15 points and nine rebounds. James Michael McAdoo and Leslie McDonald reached double figures, at 11 and 10 points respectively.
James Michael McAdoo controlled the opening tip for the Tar Heels, and Leslie McDonald scored on a second-chance opportunity to draw first blood.
But UVA standout Harris responded with interest, draining a three-pointer to give the Cavliers the 3-2 lead with 18:40 on the first half clock.
Wasting no time, J.P. Tokoto made his fifth three-pointer of the season to reclaim the lead for UNC. McAdoo’s deep make pushed Carolina’s lead out to 7-3.
It was Harris again who provided the answers for Virginia. He was on fire early on, sinking two more shots from behind the arc to give UVA the 9-7 lead with 16:15 to go in the first half.
McAdoo’s physical play inside helped him eclipse the 1,000-point mark in his career. But early on, Virginia had only missed two shots as a team.
Paige picked up his second foul of the game that forced him to the bench. But Brice Johnson provided a nice lift to get UNC to within a single point at 15-14 with under 14 minutes remaining on the first half clock.
Meeks showed smart court awareness when he cleaned up on a second-chance opportunity to briefly reclaim the lead at 16-15 for the Tar Heels.
The hot shooting for the Cavaliers continued, shooting 4-6 from three-point range, but Carolina continued to display balanced offensive scoring with Britt entering the scoring fray.
With 10 minutes to go in the first half, the pace was feverish, and the Cavaliers held a 22-21 edge when a timeout was called.
Paige rolled one in coming out of the stoppage in play to cut the deficit to one point yet again. A Britt steal followed, but a three-point attempt fell woefully short for Carolina.
At the 7:20 mark, it was the Cavaliers who maintained a 26-23 advantage.
The Tar Heels were passing the ball well, and McAdoo found Meeks in the clear to dunk it home to earn a 27-26 lead for Carolina with 5:50 to go in the half.
Virginia took a timeout and the 28-27 lead with 4:09 to go. As the clock was winding down, both squads appeared to be getting tired as sloppy play littered with turnovers took over. Tokoto committed a few turnovers of his own, helping the Cavaliers to a 34-29 lead with under two minutes left in the half.
Harris added another three-pointer right before the break to extend out the Virginia lead. The Cavaliers ended the half on an 8-0 run to lead by nine at 38-29.
The halftime stat sheet showed Virginia was shooting 51.9 percent as a team while Carolina was only managing a 39.4 percent success rate.
UVA’s Harris was leading all scorers with 11 points, including three from behind the arc. As for the Tar Heels, McAdoo and McDonald were leading the charge with 7 points apiece.
Virginia wasted not time to score in the second half. Mike Tobey scored to ignite the crowd and extend the lead out to 11 points.
The Cavaliers continued to fill up the bucket and quickly raced out to a 47-33 lead with 17:28 to play in the contest.
Carolina adjusted to a 2-3 zone on defense to attempt to change the momentum and deal with the success of the Cavalier attack.
Carolina’s Johnson came up with a nice defensive block right before a stoppage in play. Virginia led the Tar Heels 48-36 with 15:34 to go in the game.
Meeks was a bright spot for UNC in the second half, providing some aggressive minutes to keep the Tar Heels within shouting distance. But Virginia’s shooters were not cooling off.
Virginia held a 55-43 cushion with 11:32 to play. Head Coach Roy Williams was fired up and yelling at the officials over a foul call.
The Carolina offense just could not come up with any stops to cut into the Cavalier lead though. Virginia led 60-49 with 8:48 to play.
The atmosphere softened as the clock ticked down and with little doubt in the outcome despite a McDonald three-point make.
Tokoto fouled out for the first time in his career with 5:02 to play in the game, and the frustration had mounted for the Carolina players as time expired on the blowout defeat.
Next up for Carolina is a Sunday home meeting with the Clemson Tigers.
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UNC Clobbered by UVA