Make It Eleven! Carolina Escapes Virginia Tech 60-56

The North Carolina men’s basketball team eased past Virginia Tech 60-56 Saturday afternoon in Blacksburg to improve to 22-7 overall an 12-4 in conference play.

***Listen to the story***

With the loss, the Hokies fell to 9-19 on the season and 2-14 in the ACC.

The Tar Heels struggled to find their form early on, falling behind 16-11 with 9:49 on the first half clock, but the shots started falling with electric plays by Marcus Paige and J.P. Tokoto.

UNC maintained a six to eight point lead for most of the second half of play, eventually salting away the victory with some great hustle plays and some timely makes by James Michael McAdoo.

“Virginia Tech’s zone defense really gave us problems. We didn’t get the kind of movement we’d been getting nor did we shoot the ball as well. A week ago we shot 70 percent from three and all this kind of stuff. We didn’t do it very well today and didn’t make free throws down the stretch either. You got to congratulate them for their defense bothering us,” Coach Williams says.

***Listen to Roy Williams’ postgame remarks***

McAdoo led the scoring charge for the Tar Heels with 15 points while Leslie McDonald provided a nice contribution with 14 points despite major struggles from the free throw line down the stretch.

As for the Hokies, Jarell Eddie led the way with 18 points, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the tenacious Tar Heels.

The Hokies won the opening tip, but failed to convert. The Tar Heels wasted no time getting on the board with a Kennedy Meeks score inside.

Leslie McDonald popped a three-pointer to push Carolina out to a 5-0 lead with 18:10 to play in the opening half. McDonald then pushed it to the rim for an easy layup to increase the advantage out to 7-0.

McDonald dribbles around a VT defender (Todd Melet)

McDonald dribbles around a VT defender (Todd Melet)

Virginia Tech started to find some holes in the UNC defense and made a couple baskets to close the gap down to 9-4 with 15:10 to play in the half.

Trevor Thompson knocked down a jumper to close the margin down to three at 9-6. And after a Carolina score, Thompson went back to work to narrow the gap back down to 11-8 with 12:30 to go in the half.

The game was locked up at 11-11 with the first Hokie three-point make of the game. Virginia Tech spurted ahead to a 16-11 advantage with 9:49 left on the first half clock.

Carolina went through a stretch of shooting 1-10 from the field to allow Virginia Tech to seize the momentum of the contest in Cassell Arena.

The Hokie defensive intensity was definitely making life difficult for the Tar Heels in the first half.

McAdoo flew into the paint and finished with a beautiful dunk to reclaim the lead for the Tar Heels at 17-16 with 6:19 to play. And it was 10 unanswered points when J.P. Tokoto took off with an aerial assault that pushed the lead out to 21-16.

Marcus Paige darted inside and pulled up for jumper that went through the nets. Carolina took the 23-19 lead with 3:02 to play in the first half.

McDonald got a couple more points added to the scoreboard on a goal tending call on Virginia Tech to push the UNC lead out to 28-21.

As both teams jogged into the locker rooms, Carolina held the 28-21 lead at Virginia Tech.

The halftime stat sheet read in favor of the Tar Heels with UNC shooting at 38.7 percent clip from the field while Virginia Tech only managed to knock down 32 percent from the floor.

Carolina’s  Leslie McDonald led the way with seven points while Hokies Devin Wilson and Thompson each posted four points.

Carolina wasted no time to score in the second half, but Virginia Tech responded on the other end, and the scoreboard read 30-23 with 18:45 to play in the game.

McDonald swished a three-pointer from behind the arc to extend the lead out to 34-25 with 16:02 left in the contest.

McAdoo matched a Johnson three-pointer with a make on the other end to keep UNC’s nose in front. The Tar Heels maintained a 36-28 advantage with 14:10 to play.

Wilson drove to the rim and drew a foul to get sent to the free throw line. He converted on both foul shots to cut the lead down to 36-33 with 12:48 to play.

Virginia Tech tied it up at 36 points with a long-range three-pointer to ignite crowd. Tokoto answered for the Tar Heels to nudge them out in front 39-36.

Tokoto stepped up again with a physical conversion in the paint. to push the Tar Heel advantage out to 42-36 with 9:45 to play in the game.

Tokoto soaring (Todd Melet)

Tokoto soaring (Todd Melet)

Virginia Tech cut it to within two points at 42-40, but McDonald knocked down a big three-point shot to keep Carolina up 45-40 with 8:02 to play.

****Listen to the call by Jones Angell of the Tar Heel Sports Network***

Paige scored an insurance bucket for Carolina to extend the lead out to 47-40. McAdoo fed off the energy and in an instant, UNC had gained a more comfortable 49-40 advantage.

McAdoo hit a deep jumper to keep the Hokies at bay and continue the offensive surge for the Tar Heels. But Virginia Tech responded with a three-point play. The Tar Heeld led the Hokies 51-45 with 5:06 left in the game.

McAdoo came up with another impressive play to improve his tally up to 13 points and give the Tar Heels the 55-47 lead with 2:30 to play.

Carolina was able to salt away the road victory to record an eleventh straight win.

Next up for the Tar Heels is a return to the Smith Center to take on Notre Dame Monday night.

Click here for full game photo gallery.

Final Box Score

No. 19 Carolina Visits Blacksburg In Search Of Eleventh Straight Win

The No. 19 North Carolina men’s basketball team, 21-7 on the season and 11-4 in the ACC, will be looking for win number eleven in a row Saturday afternoon in Blacksburg when it meets Virginia Tech, 9-18 overall and 2-13 in conference play.

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Coach Williams reflects on the classic encounter between his team and N.C.State over in Raleigh Wednesday night.

“Marcus was just unbelievable in the second half. I told our guys I didn’t know what to say. Heck of a basketball game if you’re are just a fan. The problem is we’re not just fans; we care about how our team does. We thought we’d just given one away, then all of a sudden at the end, feel like we’ve stolen one,” Coach Williams says.

The Tar Heels will have to be road warriors again this weekend. The 2:30 p.m. tip in Cassell Arena will pit one of the hottest teams in the nation against one of its most struggling squads.

The Hokies have lost 13 of their last 14 games, but the streaking Tar Heels would do well not to overlook them.

Last season, Virginia Tech gave Carolina a scare, pushing the Tar Heels to overtime in Chapel Hill before UNC was able to finally pull away, snagging the 72-60 victory.

Sophomore point guard Marcus Paige says it’s important for him to be aggressive and take the ball to the basket in the waning minutes of games.

“Once it comes crunch-time, when you’re in the bonus you have to attack. You can’t afford to shoot contested jump shots. You have to put pressure on the refs and put pressure on the defense to try to make something happen,” Paige says.

Coach Williams says Paige is a gamer, saving his best for the big-time moments when everything is on the line.

“He’s a confident youngster. He’s a tough youngster. He’s competitive. He’s willing to try to make plays. One night in high school he scored like 18 points in less than three minutes. It may have been less than one minute. I don’t know. It was just weird. He’s a competitive rascal. He doesn’t mind taking shots when they really mean something,” Coach Williams says.

With just two more games remaining on the regular season schedule following the Virginia Tech contest, the banged up Tar Heel players can now see the finish line.

Fighting for the ball. (Todd Melet)

Fighting for the ball. (Todd Melet)

Paige says the season is definitely wearying, but that he’s been taking extra precautions to limit his fatigue as much as possible. However, Paige says Coach Williams has little mercy for his players when it comes to the long season.

“I do stuff every day with our strength coach and our trainer – stretching every day. It’s a long season, especially with the extra practices we had at the beginning of the year. Coach Williams will always say we’re 18, 19, and 20 years old. We can do this. This is what we do,” Paige says.

Carolina finished 8-0 in the month of February, making it the fifth time in the last 50 years the Tar Heels have gone undefeated in February. But the calendar has flipped to March. UNC will be hoping to start off this new month 1-0 on Saturday.

No. 11 Carolina Women Fall Flat Against Virginia Tech

The No. 11 North Carolina women’s basketball  team couldn’t overcome a sluggish start and lost to Virginia Tech 50-47 Sunday afternoon at Carmichael Arena, dropping to 21-7 on the season and 9-5 in the ACC.

***Listen to the story***

With the upset victory, the Hokies improved to 13-14 overall and 3-11 in conference action.

“We’re not going to use an excuse that we’re young. We’re talented. We should’ve played better than we did. Even though Virginia Tech had something to do with this, we still did not play as good as we could play and it’s my responsibility to get them to that level,” Associate Head Coach Andrew Calder says.

After a slow beginning that saw the Tar Heels fall behind 19-7 just eight minutes into the contest, Carolina turned on the defensive intensity and used a 13-0 run to grab the edge at 20-19 with 3:49 on the first half clock.

From there, the Tar Heels faced a tough battle in the second half with Stephanie Mavunga and Xylina McDaniel hooking up for scoring plays to fill the void of an off day for freshman sensation Diamond DeShields.

Danielle Butts provided a nice spark with two key baskets that helped Carolina capture the lead midway through the second half, but the Tar Heels could not hold on down the stretch against Virginia Tech.

DeShields struggled on the day, finishing with only eight points while Xylina McDaniel led the team with 13 points. Overall, Carolina shot a woeful 27 percent from the floor.

Vanessa Panousis led the scoring charge for the Hokies with 24 points, matching her career high.

Thanks to early turnovers and some hot shooting, the visiting Hokies raced out to a 12-point lead at 19-7 with 12 minutes to play in the opening half.

A couple baskets from DeShields kept Carolina in the contest as Xylina McDaniel popped in a score in transition to snap the Tar Heels back to attention.

Brittany Rountree made a nice streak around the basket for a score. McDaniel followed that one up with a three-point snipe that closed the Tar Heels within three points at 19-16 with 8:53 remaining in the half.

McDaniel eyes the rim. (UNC Athletic Comm)

McDaniel eyes the rim. (UNC Athletic Comm)

Mavunga worked her way to the foul line and knocked down one of the attempts to continue UNC’s surge. Carolina tied the game up at 19-19 with 4:34 before halftime.

With 3:49 on the first half clock, Allisha Gray made a free throw to break the tie and give Carolina the 20-19 edge. It was a 13-0 run for the Tar Heels as their defense was clamping down on the Hokie offense.

In the lowest scoring half for the Tar Heels this season, the score stood at 25-24 in favor of Virginia Tech.

The start of the closing half was all Hokies as they spurted out to a 30-24 advantage with 17 minutes remaining.

Carolina was finding it hard to find the nets until Gray knocked down a pair of free throws to break the cold spell.

But with 15:56 to play, the Tar Heels were trailing 32-26 to the last-place Hokies.

Mavunga scored inside on a layup to close the gap down to four points as the urgency was picking up in the contest. Virginia Tech responded, though as Campbell knocked down a jumper to push the Hokies back up 34-28 with under 14 minutes remaining.

Rountree worked her way to the line with some physical play. She got both shots to fall to trim the lead down to four points once again.

An explosive play by Danielle Butts ignited the crowd and tied the game at 36 points with under 11 minutes to go.

Gray scored her first basket of the day to give UNC the 38-36 advantage with 9:30 on the clock. The defensive pressure from the Tar Heels was giving the Hokie offense fits, generating turnovers.

Butts provided another boost with a dash to the basket and a score to continue the upward swing of momentum for Carolina.

DeShields scored her first points of the second half at a perfect moment to maintain the Tar Heel lead in the closing minutes of the game. Carolina led 43-41 with 4:59 to play.

Trailing by one with 2:47 to play, the Tar Heels committed a careless turnover on a pass out of bounds to hand the ball to the Hokies.

Crucially, DeShields was fouled on a three-point attempt in the late stages that cut the Virginia Tech lead down to a single point with 55 seconds to go in the game.

Panousis was sent to the line for Virginia Tech to give the Hokies the 48-45 advantage. McDaniel then made a two-point play to bring UNC to within one at 48-47 with 7 seconds remaining.

After a pair of Panousis free throws, Carolina’s three-point try was no good. Virginia Tech pulled off the massive upset.

Next up for the Tar Heels is a road trip to No. 2 Notre Dame Thursday.

Click here for the game photo gallery.

Final Box Score

Tar Heels Look for Fifth Straight Win in Home Meeting with Hokies

The No. 11 Carolina women’s basketball team, 21-6 overall and 9-4 in the ACC, will host Virginia Tech, 12-14 on the season and 2-11 in conference, Sunday at 2 p.m. at Carmichael Arena.

Last time out, Carolina went on the road to Charlottesville and hung on for an 80-74 triumph while Virginia Tech claimed a win over Pittsburgh.

After averaging more than 30 points and putting up two season high nights of 30 and 38 last week, the Cavaliers held Diamond DeShields in check Thursday night, only allowing her seven points.

Against UVA, Carolina was led by Allisha Gray who scored 18 while Stephanie Mavunga recorded a double-double with 17 points and ten rebounds.

The Hokies come into the contest in last place in the ACC standings, but the Tar Heels want to be sure to maintain their focus and continue to build on their four-game winning streak.

No. 15 Volleyball Wrapping Up Regular Season at Carmichael

CHAPEL HILL– The No. 15 Carolina volleyball team is ready to finish out their regular season in style with a visit from a pair of teams they’ve beaten earlier in the season.

The 22-3 Tar Heels are 11-3 in conference and face 20-8 Virginia Tech Friday night at 7 p.m. On Saturday, Carolina will take on the Cavaliers of Virginia for Senior Night. UVA is 15-11 overall and 8-6 in league play.

Carolina will honor Kaitlyn Anderson, Kayla Berringer and Jovana Bjelica before Saturday’s match.

Admission is free to both matches at Carmichael Arena and GoHeelsTV will broadcast the action online.

Road Warriors: Tar Heel Volleyball Completes Weekend Double

CHAPEL HILL– The No.13 Tar Heel volleyball team conjured up some Saturday night magic.

The Tar Heels rallied from a 2-1 deficit to earn an impressive 3-2 road victory over Virginia Tech Saturday to cap off a successful weekend in the state of Virginia.

The star performer was Jovana Bjelica with 17 kills on the night to lead Carolina to the rally.

Carolina downed the Cavaliers of Virginia the night before in three straight sets. With the pair of wins, UNC improved to 18-1 overall and 7-1 in conference action.

Next up for the Tar Heels comes a return to Chapel Hill next weekend, facing Maryland on Friday at 5 p.m. prior to Late Night with Roy at the Dean Smith Center.

Hokies Passing Offense Downs Tar Heels, 27-17

BLACKSBURG, VA – UNC played better, but the results were painfully similar as the Tar Heels fell to the Virginia Tech Hokies 27-17 Saturday in an ACC clash at Lane Stadium.

Hokies quarterback Logan Thomas tossed three touchdown passes, all in the first half, helping his team build a 21-7 lead it wouldn’t relinquish in improving to 5-1 overall and 2-0 in ACC play.

The Tar Heels drew within 14-7 in the second quarter as sophomore quarterback Marquise Williams hit Eric Ebron for a 6 yard scoring strike at the 9:09 mark. Williams started in place of Bryn Renner, who sat after suffering an undisclosed injury in last Saturday’s drubbing to ECU in Chapel Hill.

Despite a solid effort in which he completed 23 of 35 passes for 277 yards with two scores and two interceptions, Williams couldn’t help the Tar Heels from falling to 1-4 overall and 1-2 in the ACC.

Williams was also the team’s leading rusher, not necessarily a good thing, in collecting 57 yards on 18 carries. The Hokies defense, ranked among the nation’s best in several categories coming into the contest, was as good as advertised in holding the Tar Heels to 100 yards rushing at just 2.6 yards per attempt.

Virginia’s Tech’s offense did enough to win the contest, with Demitri Knowles snaring the first touchdown grab and D.J. Coles collecting his second on a 5 yard reception with 2:44 remaining in the opening half as the Hokies took a 21-7 lead into the break.

The Tar Heels put together an impressive drive in the third quarter but settled for Thomas Moore’s 36 yard field goal to cut Virginia Tech’s lead to 21-10. The drive was thwarted when the Heels got a bit fancy on a reverse attempt the Hokies snuffed out for a loss.

Troy Edmunds sealed the contest for the Hokies with a 1 yard scoring run with just 4:06 remaining, making Quinshad Davis’ 24 yard touchdown catch with 1:09 left academic.

Trailing 27-17, the Tar Heels attempted an onsides kick that was gathered in by Virginia Tech. UNC committed 11 penalties, continuing their “flag football” Saturday theme for the season but enjoyed a bright spot defensively in holding the Hokies to just 48 yards rushing on 34 attempts.

Struggling Tar Heels Aiming to ‘Turn It Loose’ in Blacksburg

CHAPEL HILL– The Tar Heels have now concluded a week of spirited practices following the head-scratching loss to East Carolina Saturday. And now, it’s off to Blacksburg for a critical Coastal Division battle against the revitalized Virginia Tech Hokies.

And Head Coach Larry Fedora says he’s been encouraged by the way practice has been going this week.

“We’ve had two really good days of practice. Today was better than yesterday as it should be. The game plan is in so guys felt better about it. We had some good energy today with good competition,” Coach Fedora says.

With the lack of enthusiasm last week, Coach Fedora says he needs the Tar Heels to embrace the moment, just “turn it loose” and enjoy their time out on the field during game days.

“We just need to play. Just go out there and play. Turn it loose and play. We work hard Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. You better enjoy Saturday. You better go out there and turn it loose, and have a good time,” Coach Fedora says.

Defensive Coordinator Vic Koenning was still fuming at practice over the horrific play of his defense. He says the Tar Heels made the Pirates look like the Green Bay Packers last Saturday.

“All the credit needs to go to them. They looked like the Green Bay Packers, and we made that running back look like Walter Payton. There‘s probably a lot of reasons. But reasons are excuses. […] They kicked our butt on every level,” Coach Koenning says.

Koenning says this week’s preparations for Virginia Tech have been more physical than usual, saying he’s even been having his players tackle to the ground, a rarity in today’s game. Koenning says he equates his current role to an epic fist fight.

“It’s like I’m in a fist fight with whomever the heavy weight champion is every day just trying to get these guys to do the right things and do it as fast and hard as they can,” Coach Koenning says.

Senior safety Tre Boston has been tossing in a few missed tackles himself in the last couple contests. However, Boston says he’s motivated to correct those mistakes and wants everyone to know that the season is not yet over for the Tar Heels.

“I guess people tend to think that this is over for us. The Coastal [division race] is all in front of us. It’s what we make out of it. We had to change that mentality around Sunday. You can’t let a team beat you twice,” Boston says.

We’ll begin to see if Boston and the Tar Heels have turned the corner this weekend.

UNC kick things off in Blacksburg Saturday at 12:30 p.m. And WCHL will get your game day morning started off right with Countdown to Kickoff beginning at 9 a.m.

Coach Fedora Defends Philosophy,Braces for Hokies with “Mojo”

CHAPEL HILL– Perusing the ECU game film didn’t make Head Coach Larry Fedora feel any better about Carolina’s performance on Saturday. Coach Fedora says he may have proved an old adage wrong in the process.

“You all know the old saying that it’s never as bad or good as you think it is? Well, it was as bad as I thought it was. I proved that wrong. The film didn’t show us anything to make us feel any better about it I can tell you that,” Coach Fedora says.

However, Coach Fedora says he’s still supremely confident in his coaching philosophy despite the utter lack of execution in all phases of the game.

“Our philosophy is very sound and is proven. That’s not going to change. It’s not going to waver,” Coach Fedora says.

The most disheartening aspect of Saturday to most observers was the fact that it appeared the Tar Heels were unprepared or unwilling to match the intensity and passion of the Pirates. The game seemed to not be worth fighting for on their home turf for the majority of the contest. And Coach Fedora says he takes responsibility for the letdown.

Sunday’s practice time was spent correcting the laundry list of mistakes made in the game. Coach Fedora says that now it’s about putting the past behind them and making a mental decision to turn the corner.

“Now make a choice and make a conscious choice what you want to do from this point on. And when you come out on Tuesday, let’s go,” Coach Fedora says.

With a tough road trip up to Blacksburg to face a resurgent Virginia Tech team on deck, Coach Fedora says he knows his Tar Heel offense can’t be sputtering against the Bud Foster-coached defense that has its “mojo” back.

“It’s the same guys. They got the mojo back. They’re playing really well together, and they believe in themselves. They’ve got that mojo right now,” Coach Fedora says.

Kickoff at Virginia Tech is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. Saturday. And WCHL will have your game day covered beginning with Countdown to Kickoff at 9 a.m.

No. 1 UNC Baseball Takes Six-Game Winning Streak On the Road

CHAPEL HILL – The No. 1 UNC baseball team returns to the road this weekend to take on Virginia Tech in a three-game ACC series beginning Friday evening.

The Tar Heels extended their winning streak to six on Wednesday with a 7-5 win over Liberty. The Hokies are coming off the same decision, but in ten innings against Longwood. Prior to that Virginia Tech had some trouble against No. 25 N.C. State dropping all three after an 8-7, 14-inning decision opened the series.

The Hokies have struggled in-conference this season as they sit 7-8, a game ahead of the Coastal Division’s last place Miami Hurricanes. The Tar Heels have held on to the ACC’s best record at 12-2 and are one game ahead of Virginia in the Coastal.

Junior Kent Emanuel will get the start for Carolina on Friday; he’s 6-1 on the season with a 1.30 ERA.

First pitch Friday night is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. WCHL will join the contest in progress after the WCHL Evening News with Aaron Keck.