The No. 6 North Carolina men’s basketball team got its season off to a winning start with balanced scoring that led to a comfortable 76-60 triumph over the N.C. Central Eagles Friday night in the Smith Center.
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Junior forward Brice Johnson led the Tar Heel scoring charge with 12 points and tossed in eight rebounds and two blocks. Those 12 points match the smallest output by a UNC leading scorer in any game last year.
Kennedy Meeks and J.P. Tokoto also scored in double figures with 10 points each, while freshman Justin Jackson closely followed, tallying nine points of his own.
UNC head coach Roy Williams reached an impressive milestone Friday night, earning his 1000th combined win as a college coach, beginning with his days as an assistant under Carolina’s Dean Smith.
Coach Williams, though, wasn’t in a celebratory mood after the game. He says he was frustrated with his team’s overall play.
“We went to a lot of different lineups tonight, played a lot of people, didn’t shoot the ball exceptionally well and didn’t handle the ball exceptionally well. We had 14 turnovers, and they had 14 turnovers. They’re playing zone most of the game. We were playing pressure man-to-man and full-court man-to-man and didn’t exactly get them to turn the ball over,” Coach Williams says.
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Earlier in the week, it seemed a certainty that junior forward J.P. Tokoto would be in the starting lineup for the home opener, but Coach Williams surprisingly started freshman Theo Pinson in his place.
Coach Williams says Tokoto did something to upset him in my practice, but insists he’s put it all behind him and is still pleased with Tokoto’s play leading up to the season.
“J.P. made a mistake in practice and did something I didn’t like, so I didn’t start him. It’s over with now. He started in the second half. It’s no big deal. He’s had a great preseason. He’s done some nice things for us and has had as good of, if not the best, preseason practice period as anybody on our team,” Coach Williams says.
Promising freshman Jackson was a star performer in the two preseason exhibition games, but he admits he felt a little more pressure Friday night in the regular season opener.
“I wouldn’t say I was extremely nervous, but obviously, it’s the first game that really counts. I was a little nervous, but once I got out there and started playing, I was fine,” Jackson says.
Jackson also notes a glaring strength for the Tar Heels – their depth.
“On the court, we just keep getting better. We’ve got so many guys that can play this game. We can go so deep and never lose it. It’s really great,” Jackson says.
N.C. Central head coach LaVelle Moton, whose stock is rising with each successive season, had his Eagles playing a disciplined brand of basketball, confusing the Tar Heels at times with multiple defensive schemes.
Anthony McDonald scored 16 points to lead the Eagles on the offensive end.
Coach Williams was full of praise for the solid coaching job turned in by Coach Moton, but there was one irksome play that stuck out in his mind that will have an effect on practice this weekend.
“I think it’s a good learning experience. It’s a good team, a very good coach, and those kids played really hard. Again, one play in the first half, they had one guy going for the rebound and we had four. Who came up with the ball? Their guy. We’ll see that play at practice tomorrow,” Coach Williams says.
With the win, Carolina is now 93-12 in season openers and has recorded wins in 80 of its last 85 opening games. Under Coach Williams, the Tar Heels are 11-1 in openers.
UNC returns to action Sunday evening at 6 p.m. with a matchup against Robert Morris of the Northeast conference. The game is slated for a 6 p.m. tipoff.
UNC head coach Roy Williams brings a deep squad into the game, but he says he won’t be playing around with the lineup now that the results count toward the win-loss columns.
“We’ll experiment quite a bit, but at the same time, we’re going to try to win games too. It’s important to realize we’ve had two exhibition games where we were far more gifted than the teams we were playing. I tried to experiment a lot in those times. I don’t see us experimenting nearly as much Friday and Sunday,” Coach Williams says.
Junior forward J.P. Tokoto says a more aggressive and bulked up teammate in Brice Johnson could make a huge impact on the hardwood.
“In the NBA, when I think about an enforcer, I think about Kendrick Perkins. Around a lot of young guys, you have an old guy who’s out there to wreak havoc almost and be that dominating force and keep everybody going. If Brice [Johnson] truly wants to be that guy, I feel like we could really use somebody like that,” Tokoto says.
Although Coach Williams sees the opportunity for the Tar Heels to develop into a great defensive team, but for now, he says his lanky players have a ways to go.
“We are nowhere near where we want to be, even with changing defenses. We’re not as quick as we have been, but yet we’re longer than maybe we’ve ever been. I think that length helps you a lot too,” Coach Williams says.
N.C. Central battled its way to an appearance in the NCAA Tournament last season and pushed Iowa State, the team that ultimately knocked out Carolina.
Tokoto says playing head coach LeVelle Moton’s Eagles will give the Tar Heels a good indication of where they’re at as a team.
“Looking at their team last year, they were a hard-nosed team. I got to see them before we played Iowa State. I think this will be a great test for us, playing against a higher caliber team like N.C. Central,” Tokoto says.
WCHL’s coverage of opening night will begin at 6:30 p.m. with Countdown to Tipoff.http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/6-tar-heels-open-upset-minded-eagles/
The UNC volleyball team jumped four spots in this week’s national rankings after sweeping its opponents in the Carolina Classic over the weekend.
The AVCA Coaches’ voted the Tar Heels into the No. 13 spot after a hard-fought meeting with then-No. 16 Kentucky opened the weekend. The Tar Heels, then ranked No. 17, pulled off the five-set victory with a 16-14 final set. The Wildcats took sets two and three in dominating fashion (25-15 in each), but the Heels answered with a 25-13 set four to force the deciding set.
UNC is 7-1 on the season and on a five-match winning streak after its 3-0 loss to Illinois in the Illini Classic on August 30.
The Tar Heels remain home this weekend for the ACC-Big 12 Classic. Oklahoma comes to town Friday, and Carolina hosts West Virginia on Saturday. Both matches begin at 6:00 p.m.http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/unc-volleyball-climbs-four-spots-classic-sweep/
The No.30 North Carolina baseball team completed a series victory over Boston College Sunday with a dominating 12-2 win to improve to 18-13 overall and 7-8 in ACC play.
With the loss, the Eagles dropped to 10-20 on the season and 2-13 in conference action.
Freshman pitcher Zac Gallen turned in a solid performance, combining with reliever Reilly Hovis to allow a mere two runs off five hits.
Michael Russell reached base on five occasions and scored three runs while Parks Jordan and Landon Lassiter got in on the offensive explosion with three runs apiece as well.
Next up for the Tar Heels is the opener of a five-game homestand. Carolina will host North Carolina A & T Tuesday at 6 p.m. inside Boshamer Stadium.
Carolina is coming off a victory against UNC-Wilmington Tuesday that snapped a rough six-game losing streak. The Eagles have recorded back-to-back home wins against Connecticut and Massachusetts heading into their meeting with the Tar Heels.
The Diamond Heels are 16-1 all-time against the Eagles. Boston College’s sole victory came in Chestnut Hill in 2009 – Carolina’s last visit to Boston College.
Trent Thornton will get the start at the mound on Friday. Thornton owns a 5-1 mark and 2.02 ERA on the season.
First pitch is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Friday. Saturday’s contest will commence at 1:30 p.m. and Sunday’s finale will begin a 1 p.m.http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/diamond-heels-head-chestnut-hill-take-eagles/
The No. 18 North Carolina baseball team lost to Winthrop 3-1 Wednesday evening at Boshamer Stadium to fall to 15-9 on the season. With the victory, the Eagles improved to 12-14 on the year.
Once again, the Carolina offense was stymied. UNC’s lone run came in the first inning when the Tar Heels had the bases loaded.
But it was Michael Patrick’s three-run home run in the second that proved to be the deciding play as the Eagles’ pitching staff shut down the UNC lineup. Winthrop pitchers Zach Sightler and Josh Strong turned in strong performances on the mound.
Tar Heel pitcher Luis Paula absorbed the loss for his team after surrendering the long ball out of the park. Despite some solid relief efforts from Spencer Trayner and Reilly Hovis, Carolina went down for the third straight game.
Next up for the Tar Heels is a three-game weekend series with rival Duke over in Durham. Firts pitch of the series is slated for Friday at 6 p.m.http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/tar-heel-bats-fall-flat-unc-drops-game-winthrop/
The North Carolina baseball team, 15-8 on the season and 5-4 in conference, will look to rebound from its 2-1 ACC series loss to Georgia Tech last weekend when it takes on Winthrop, 11-14 on the year, Wednesday afternoon at 4 p.m. at Boshamer Stadium.
The Tar Heels will need to produce some runs to get past the Eagles in the midweek test. The lineup only mustered a single run in their Saturday night defeat to the Yellow Jackets.
Another rough blow was dealt to Carolina in the form of a blood clot in junior pitcher Chris McCue’s shoulder. McCue underwent successful treatment over the weekend, but will be out indefinitely.
Head Coach Mike Fox says the team will “support him both physically and emotionally during his recovery.”
Before being derailed, McCue was having a stellar season with a conference high seven saves in seven appearances.
First pitch between the Tar Heels and Eagles is set for 4 p.m. Wednesday.http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/diamond-heels-look-midweek-recovery-versus-winthrop-eagles/
The Chapel Hill High School girls’ basketball team plays Saturday at 5:00 p.m. for the 3A NCHSAA state title.
Chapel Hill defeats Cardinal Gibbons 46-28 for the outright 3A Big Eight regular season title and undefeated regular season
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Chapel Hill defeats Cardinal Gibbons 48-38 for the 3A Big Eight tournament title
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Chapel Hill defeats West Craven 46-44 for the 3A NCHSAA East Regional title
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HILLSBOROUGH – The NCHSAA East Regional’s No. 1 seed Orange proved just why it was given that seeding with an 86-78 defeat of rival and No. 9 seed Eastern Alamance. However, the Eagles never gave up and tested just how long the Panthers could hold on.
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HILLSBOROUGH – J.D. Brooks and Tay Jones were a dynamic duo Friday night, powering the Orange High boys basketball team to an 86-78 defeat of Eastern Alamance in the third round of the 3A NCHSAA state playoffs.
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Brooks scored 21 points and hauled in 12 rebounds, while Jones added 13 points and five steals in an energetic effort as the Panthers advanced to the sectional finals Wednesday night in Fayetteville against No. 5 seed West Brunswick.
As good as Brooks and Keegan Crabtree (22 points before fouling out late) were for the Panthers, Orange coach Greg Motley said Jones keyed the win.
“Tay pushed himself beyond his limits,” Motley said. “He earned the game ball tonight.”
Perhaps that’s because he was so willing to sacrifice his body with a scrappy defensive effort that helped the Panthers hold off an Eagles squad led by Lamont Robinson’s 28 points.
The Mt. St. Mary’s bound guard was terrific as usual in keeping the Eagles in striking distance throughout with an array of baskets. When he fouled out on a reach-in with just more than four minutes left; Eastern Alamance’s chances were seriously damaged, however.
Jones saw to that with a slam dunk and a pair of free throws, while Brooks followed up his own miss at the charity stripe with a slam dunk to make it 80-75 with just less than two minutes remaining.
The Eagles were doomed thanks to some late turnovers and awful shooting behind the arc (4 of 31), while the Panthers were a more efficient 6 of 13.
Orange stormed out to a 16-4 lead midway through the first quarter, though Eastern Alamance closed out the stanza with an 11-5 run to make it 21-15.
Malcolm Summers got the Mebane-area squad within a hoop at 29-27 with a slam dunk in the second quarter. The Panthers quickly roared back to build a double-digit advantage as Crabtree took over offensively.
Brooks and Jones also keyed a third quarter run with consecutive slam dunks as Orange built a 70-55 lead heading into the final eight minutes.
Jones said a raucous home crowd helped Orange throughout the contest.
“I was focused and hyped, it was the crowd,” Jones said. “I also love playing with all my teammates.”
2014 NCHSAA State Playoffs
3A Boys’ Bracket