The Tar Heels are coming off a disappointing 3-2 loss in extra innings to Coastal Carolina Wednesday while the Demon Deacons fell to UNC-Greensboro 4-2 in a midweek contest.
Sophomore slinger Trent Thornton will be looking to continue his fine form on the mound this season, but Carolina’s bats will likely decide the series. The Tar Heels only managed two runs, both in the first inning, Wednesday against the Chanticleers.
Carolina leads the all-time series with Wake Forest 95-73-1. The Demon Deacons are searching for their first series win in Chapel Hill since 2001.
First pitch for game one is slated for 7 p.m. Friday. Game two on Saturday will commence at 6 p.m. while the series finale gets underway at 1 p.m. Sunday.http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/pivotal-acc-series-tar-heels-demon-deacons-invade-chapel-hill/
It’s starting to get serious over here in Greensboro. Here are my quick reactions so far:
GAME ONE: #8 Maryland vs. #9 Florida State
I strolled into the Greensboro Coliseum for an interesting matchup between the Terps and Noles. I was impressed with the Maryland contingent. They were vocal and you could sense their fans were desperate not to leave their final ACC Tournament without a victory.
Everybody else…they wanted nothing more than to see Leonard Hamilton’s Seminoles crush the ACC traitors and give them a rude parting gift out the door. ACC purists, including many seated next to me in press row, were licking their chops at the possibility of a Maryland loss.
All in all, it was a competitive first half, however sloppy. Maryland’s Allen tallied 13 points. The Terps held the 34-32 edge. Both teams were shooting at a 43-percent clip from the floor.
Okaro White stepped up with an athletic block that resulted in a sprint to the basket in the other end. There’s no questioning the athleticism of the Seminoles – and their cheerleaders, oh my! But that’s another story for another day.
There were some great spikes in this one. It seemed like a volleyball match at time out there on the court. Mark Turgeon was his usual disgusted self on the sidelines for the Terps. I must say, I’ll miss his sour looks when he departs for the Big Ten next year.
Florida State was smartly getting out on the perimeter, limiting the Maryland three-point shots to perfection and forcing the drive inside – right into the Seminole wheelhouse.
Ian Miller and Thomas were both solid scoring options for Florida State. Dez Wells was doing his best to keep the Terps in the contest. But ultimately, it was the farewell party Maryland never wanted – falling on a last second Bojo dunk. Bojo, the Turtle Slayer!
FINAL: FSU 67 – MD 65
GAME TWO: #5 Pitt vs. #12 Wake Forest
There would be no slow start for Pitt in this one. The Panthers got off to a roaring start – 15-5 with 14:32 to play.
It was a heavy dose of Lamar Patterson and Talib Zanna for the Panthers. Tyler Cavanaugh sniping three-pointers is a necessary ingredient to the Demon Deacons. And speaking of Demon Deacons, their mascot has some sick dance moves!
Wake Forest’s players, however, were not quite as enthusiastic as the mascot and cheerleaders. They seemed lethargic, sluggishly getting back on defense and not running solid offense.
Zanna and Patterson duo were proving too much for the Deac defense to handle. At the intermission, the Panthers held the 39-25 lead.
It was an epic halftime show. The mascots of all the ACC teams took over the floor and put on a zany, entertaining display of hoops. The Pitt dance team wasn’t too bad either.
The pace definitely quickened in the second half of play. The energy was ratcheted up for both squads, but again, Patterson was still Patterson. And his speciality was shredding the Demon Deacon defense.
The game got uglier and uglier by the minute, with Wake trailing by as many as 26 points midway through the second half. Head Coach Bzdelik’s funeral procession had begun.
Things got so out of hand that the fans all left for early happy hour and dinner. You could hear individual shouts from the crowd. Patterson finished with 24 points and sat the bench the final minutes.
In the end, Pitt advanced seamlessly on to the quarterfinals and a date with North Carolina.
FINAL: Pitt 84 – Wake Forest 55
The No. 13 UNC women’s basketball team snuck into the third round with a 69-65 defeat of Wake Forest Wednesday night in Greensboro.
The Demon Deacons opened the contest with a 7-0 run shooting 3-3 from the field, including 1-1 from behind the arc. The Tar Heels answered with a 5-2 run, but then with the help of Dearica Hamby’s 19 first-half points shooting 9-11 from the field, the Deacs pulled away again and jumped out to a double-digit lead.
At halftime, Carolina was down 12 shooting 32 percent from the field in the first half, while Wake Forest connected on 59 percent of its attempts.
The Tar Heels hit the final basket of the first half and scored the next 14 points unanswered to take the lead at 41-39. In the middle of that run, though, there was a nearly 25-minute break in the action as all the lights went out in the Greensboro Coliseum.
Wake Forest stormed back to take the lead again, but finally play settled with Carolina in the lead. UNC was 3-4 in free throws in the final 30 seconds to fend off Wake and hold on for the four-point win.
Hamby only had ten points in the second half finishing with 29, but she still led all players. Wake’s Chelsea Douglas also tallied 20 points in her final contest as a Deac.
Diamond Deshields led the Heels with 17 points She also pulled down eight rebounds. No other Tar Heels hit double-figure scoring.
Each team turned the ball over more times than the number of field goals it hit. Carolina turned the ball over 22 times; Wake Forest had 26 TOs.
With the win, the Tar Heels improved to 23-8; the Demon Deacons finished their season 15-16.
Carolina faces No. 3 seed Maryland in the quarterfinals Friday with a scheduled tip time of 8:00 p.m. Maryland got first- and second-round byes with its 24-5, 12-4 regular season finish. The Tar Heels lost to the Terrapins 79-70 in Chapel Hill on January 9.http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/unc-womens-basketball-survives-advances-def-wfu-69-65/
***Listen to the story***
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.
Click here for the full game photo gallery.
The North Carolina men’s basketball team, 19-7 overall and 9-4 in the ACC, will be aiming to exact some revenge on 14-12 Wake Forest, 4-9 in conference, when the two programs meet Saturday at 12 p.m. in the Dean Smith Center.
Carolina is coming into the game on a roll having won eight straight, including a thrilling rally against No. 5 Duke Thursday night.
The Demon Deacons fell at Maryland 71-60 in their last outing on Tuesday, but the Deacons defeated the Tar Heels earlier this season 73-67 over at Joel Coliseum in Winston-Salem.
But Wake Forest has found it a lot more difficult to produce wins away from their home court this season, falling in nine of their 11 road trips.
And although the visiting team is reeling with six straight losses, the Tar Heels will need to guard themselves from a possible letdown after all the energy they invested in the rivalry game a couple nights ago.
One positive development for Carolina was the emergence of Leslie McDonald against Duke. The senior found his shot, scoring 21 points to help lead the Tar Heels to victory.
If the Tar Heels win one more ACC game this season, they will earn their 38th 10-win ACC season and their ninth in the last 10 years under Head Coach Roy Williams. No other ACC school has as many 10-win ACC seasons as Carolina. Duke is second with 32.
Carolina leads the all-time series with Wake Forest 155-66. Saturday’s game will be broadcast on 97.9 FM, WCHL and televised on the ACC Network.http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/rest-weary-revenge-minded-carolina-hosts-wake-forest-saturday/
WINSTON-SALEM– The No. 7 North Carolina Tar Heels women’s basketball team pulled away from the Wake Forest Demon Deacons late in the contest Thursday night to claim an 83-65 victory and improve to 17-3 overall and 5-1 in ACC play.
***Listen to the recap***
Freshmen Diamond DeShields and Allisha Gray each put up 19 points to lead the Tar Heels to their 11th straight win in the series.
With the loss, Wake Forest dropped to 10-9 on the season and 1-5 in conference action.
Xylina McDaniel and Stephanie Mavunga added nice contributions of their own, at 12 points apiece. Mavunga also nabbed 12 rebounds in the contest, giving her a tenth double-double of the season.
Dearica Hamby led the scoring charge for the Demon Deacons with 22 points, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the Carolina attack.
The game was tight until the final minutes with the score tied at 56-56 with 8:22 remaining.
Carolina made its final eight free throws to wrap up the victory, its 12th in the last 13 outings. Wake Forest’s 27 turnovers certainly helped the Tar Heel cause. UNC converted those miscues into 35 points.
Next up for the Tar Heels is a Thursday night meeting with Syracuse in Carmichael Arena.
You can view the final box score here.http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/tar-heel-triumph-wbb-gets-win-wake-forest/
WINSTON-SALEM– The No. 7 North Carolina women’s basketball team, 16-3 overall and 5-1 in the ACC, will travel to Winston Salem to face Wake Forest, 10-8 overall and 1-4 in conference action Thursday night at 7 p.m.
The Tar Heels come into the game winners of 11 of their last 12 games while Wake Forest earned its first ACC victory on Monday against Clemson.
Carolina has owned the head-to-head matchup in recent times. The Tar Heels have won the last 10 meetings with the Demon Deacons.
Freshman sensation Diamond DeShields averaged 18 points for UNC in the pair of wins last week and was named to the John R. Wooden Award Midseason List, the only freshman in the nation in the elite group.
The Tar Heels will need to watch out for Wake Forest’s Dearica Hamby Thursday evening. Hamby leads the ACC in scoring, with 21.1 points per contest, and rebounding, with 11.2 per game.
The game will be broadcast on WCHL, 97.9 FM, at 7 p.m. and televised on the Regional Sports Network and online on ESPN3.http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/7-tar-heels-travel-40-take-demon-deacons/
***Listen to the recap***
Continuing the theme of playing to the level of the competition, UNC surprised no one when it found itself in a tough battle with Wake Forest. Scoring droughts and turnovers doomed the Tar Heels on the road against a determined Demon Deacon squad hungry for a signature win.
Wake Forest’s Travis McKie finished his stellar evening with 16 points while Tyler Cavanaugh chipped in 11 points of his own.
UNC’s Marcus Paige fouled out for only the second time in his career and finished without scoring in double digits for the first time all season. James Michael McAdoo led the Tar Heels in scoring with 13 points on the night.
Carolina shot just 39 percent as a team from the floor and failed to take advantage of its 51-36 rebounding advantage.
With the loss, Head Coach Roy Williams is now 11-6 against Wake Forest as a head coach while with the victory, the Demon Deacons improved to 11-3 on the year.
The Tar Heels won the opening tipoff, but failed to score when a Kennedy Meeks shot bounced off the rim. The perimeter pressure on the defensive end for Carolina resulted in a Nate Britt steal, but UNC was unable to get on the scoreboard yet again.
The first points of the game went to Miller-McIntyre on the charity stripe. He staked the home team out to a 1-0 lead with 18:35 left on the first half clock. Paige responded right back with a beautiful floater to get the UNC lead.
McAdoo knocked down an open jumper and then followed that up with a nice athletic run to the basket to pick up a foul. The junior made both free throws.
Britt drove inside for a nice make as the Carolina offense was rolling early on the offensive side of the floor, shooting at 50 percent clip from the floor . And sloppy Wake Forest turnovers were aiding the Tar Heel cause.
Brice Johnson slammed one home off a Paige assist to give UNC the 15-12 lead with 14:20 to play in the first half.
Leslie McDonald scored on a long-range jumper as the versatile Tar Heel offense was proving a tough one to contain for the Demon Deacons.
Meeks fought himself to the free throw line by going up strong to the basket. Meeks missed the second foul shot, but an offensive rebound kept the ball in the hands of Carolina.
Wake Forest nailed a three-pointer to ignite the Joel Coliseum crowd and Arnaud-William Adala Moto scored inside to close the Demon Deacons to within a single point of UNC at 20-19 with 9:30 left in the half. And the home team got its first lead of the game at 21-20 soon after.
A McDonald three reclaimed the Tar Heel lead, 23-21, at the under-eight timeout.
The Demon Deacons kept battling for the home crowd. A bank shot fell through the nets to tie the contest at 25 points with 5:56 remaining in the first half.
Some solid work by Meeks around the basket coupled with a Johnson slam dunk staked Carolina to the 29-27 lead at the 4:12 mark.
Wake’s Tyler Cavanaugh earned his way to the foul line and made both charity throws to knot the game back up at 29 points.
The back-and-forth affair continued in the waning minutes of the first half with Wake Forest getting the 34-32 halftime lead against North Carolina.
Paige was struggling for the Tar Heels, only managing three points while Demon Deacon Cavanaugh was leading all scorers at the half with nine points.
As a team, UNC was shooting 32.5 percent from the floor. Wake Forest shot an impressive 48 percent. Carolina held a 34-16 edge in the rebounding department, but Wake Forest got the free throw line on ten more occasions than UNC.
Britt slashed inside to come up with a score for Carolina to open the second half, tying the game at 36 with 18:49 left in the game when timeout was called.
Wake Forest came out of the locker room with plenty of intensity, but the shots weren’t falling early on.
Turnovers continued to plague the sloppy Tar Heels, but a nice follow-up by J.P. Tokoto tied up the game at 38 all with 15:30 on the second half clock.
The tide had turned swiftly in favor of the Demon Deacons with some nice work on the offensive boards to give the home team its largest lead of the night at 48-40 with 12:30 remaining in the contest. Moto was making his presence known.
The Tar Heels went cold from the floor midway through the second half, and the crowd had come alive with the spirited play of the Demon Deacons. The score was 51-40 on a 13-2 run when Coach Williams took a timeout to attempt to rally the Tar Heels.
Tokoto added a spark to UNC’s offense with the nine minute mark to close Carolina to within ten points, but Wake Forest responded with a McIntyre make. With 7:49 to play, the Tar Heels trailed the Demon Deacons 56-46.
Meeks scored off a beautiful pass from Paige to cut the deficit to eight with 6:10 to play in the contest. UNC was gaining momentum with a 8-2 run.
A contact technical foul was called on McDonald to halt UNC’s momentum, and Wake Forest took full advantage to push the lead up to 59-50 with 5 minutes to play.
Cavanaugh made a clutch shot with just under four minutes remaining as the Wake Forest offense kept clicking in the crucial closing minutes. McDonald’s jumper was good to keep Carolina alive down 64-56 with 3:05 to go.
Paige’s first three-pointer on the night followed and trimmed the lead down to five points. The shooting suddenly went cold for Wake Forest, but with 1:03 to go, McKie stopped the skid with a three-point play that gave Wake Forest a 66-61 lead.
Paige exited the floor with his fifth foul. It was his first game all year not scoring in double figures. To the delight of the Wake Forest faithful, the Demon Deacons trotted off the court with the hard-fought victory.
Next up for the Tar Heels is a return to the Dean Smith Center in Chapel Hill for a Wednesday meeting with the 8-6 Miami Hurricanes.
For the game box score, click here.http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/tar-heels-fall/
CHAPEL HILL– The No.19 North Carolina men’s basketball team begins their run at an ACC regular season championship Sunday night on the road against Wake Forest.
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The 10-3 Tar Heels will be focusing on building off their demolition of UNC-Wilmington on New Year’s Eve while the 10-3 Demon Deacons, winners of four of their last five contests, look to take advantage of UNC’s erratic play so far this season and garner a signature win.
Head Coach Roy Williams, 7-3 in conference openers, says he’s still trying to figure out the bipolar nature of his team.
“Our consistency I have not liked. At times, we’ve shown some things that we’re going to be okay defensively. Sometimes we’ve been a really good rebounding team, and sometimes we’ve been a sorry rebounding team. Sometimes, we’ve been extremely unselfish, and other times we’ve been selfish,” Coach Williams says.
The 8 p.m. Sunday start for the Tar Heels is not something Coach Williams is looking forward to. He says the late Sunday tip-offs throw off the whole weekly routine.
“It screws up the whole week. You got a game, and then all of a sudden they got five days of classes. You’re playing a Sunday night game, you’re sitting around all day, and you’re not in class. It’s not a normal day,” Coach Williams says.
With all the youth on the roster, Coach Williams says he’s unsure how prepared they will be for the intense grind of the conference season.
“They have no idea. All three of the freshmen have had more opportunities to get better. But it is a big time jump. It really is a big time jump. I always have the saying that the kids laugh at. You can’t come in their tiptoeing through the tulips. You got to come in and be ready to make a stand. Hopefully those guys will do it right from the start,” Coach Williams says.
James Michael McAdoo says he’s excited for the more normal routine that ACC play brings.
“I think it’s a lot of fun playing so many games and not have having to wait so long between games. It’s just the feeling of conference play and just being able to get into it and the excitement that comes with it each and every game,” McAdoo says.
Carolina leads the all-time series against Wake Forest 155-65 and beat the Demon Deacons handily in the Smith Center a year ago. But Sunday marks the first road game for the Tar Heels since their upset victory over then No.1 Michigan State back on Dec. 4.http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/coach-williams-warns-tar-heels-tiptoe-tulips-acc-opener/
WINSTON-SALEM — Dave Clawson is eager to start his next rebuilding project at Wake Forest.
Clawson was introduced Tuesday as the Demon Deacons’ coach and said the job is “truly a dream come true.”
Athletic director Ron Wellman says “we have a winner” in Clawson.
The 46-year-old Clawson faces a tough job at Wake Forest, which is coming off its fifth straight losing season.
His hiring caps a weeklong search for Jim Grobe’s replacement. Grobe stepped down Dec. 2 after a 13-year stay that included the best three-year run in school history.
Clawson says Wake Forest “is a special place” and says when the job came open last week, he hoped to be considered for it.http://chapelboro.com/sports/acc/clawson-ready-begin-rebuilding-wake-forest/