With the loss, the Seminoles dropped to 10-10 on the season with a 2-5 mark in league play.
***Listen to the story***
In a physical contest featuring a host of long, lean and athletic players, the Tar Heels and Seminoles authored a rigorous clash ferociously waged on both sides of the floor. UNC finished with a slim 36-35 edge in rebounds.
What’s more, it was a refreshingly clean game with a mere 15 combined turnovers, with the Tar Heels only coughing up the ball on five occasions, a season low.
“Coach [Williams] was very excited about that because he is big in turnovers. For ourselves, we are extremely happy just because we don’t have to run in practice,” junior forward J.P. Tokoto says.
UNC head coach Roy Williams says he was pleased with his team’s effort overall.
“We are good to say the least, we got the ‘W’, it was a weird game at times, but we did some nice things. Our execution on offense at the end, and also defensively, I thought we played well at times,” Coach Williams says.
***Listen to Roy Williams’ postgame remarks***
Balanced scoring was the theme of the day yet again for UNC with four players finishing in double figures. Junior guard Marcus Paige led the way with 19 points while Brice Johnson added in a flashy 18 points of his own to go along with 14 bruising rebounds.
But it was FSU freshman guard Xavier Rathan-Mayes who stole the show, lighting up the Smith Center to the tune of 35 points – the most by any opposing player in Chapel Hill since 2006, when J.J. Redick of Duke accomplished the feat.
“Boy, [Xavier] Rathan-Mayes, we held him scoreless without a field goal for about four or five minutes, but all of a sudden in the last 30 seconds he made three or four of them in a row. He was a difficult guy for us to guard,” Coach Williams says.
Although Coach Williams insists he’s still not satisfied with UNC’s team defense, FSU head coach Leonard Hamilton says the Tar Heels present a formidable challenge.
“North Carolina is tremendous in quickness, speed, athleticism and they’re very talented. I don’t know what else I can say. They’re well-coached, and they executed their defensive game plan very well. They make life miserable for just about everyone who they play,” Coach Hamilton says.
***Click here for the full game photo gallery***
Rathan-Mayes certainly got off to a hot start, scoring the first 7 points for the Seminoles, but Carolina countered with some efficient, quick offense of its own.
With 15:38 to play, UNC held a narrow 10-9 lead, but the defensive energy displayed by the Tar Heels would soon overwhelm the offensively-challenged Seminoles.
Johnson and Paige combined to spur the ruthless Carolina attack. The Tar Heels used crisp passing and patient shot selection to take quality shots and more often than not, make them.
Johnson picked up his third foul for an illegal screen at the 5:35 mark in the first half and promptly took a seat on the bench for the remainder of the half for Carolina. With Johnson off the floor, the battling Seminoles were able to whittle away at the Tar Heel lead.
At intermission, UNC sported a 35-31 advantage over visiting FSU. However, it was FSU that was getting the better of the rebounding battle with an 18-14 edge.
Out of the locker room, the intensity was ratcheted up on both sides of the ball with the game hanging in the balance. The athleticism and length, as has become custom of a Leonard Hamilton-coached team at FSU, definitely challenged the Tar Heels.
At the under-16 timeout, UNC maintained a 45-38 lead.
FSU’s athleticism was answered by J.P. Tokoto’s ability to evade defenders and slash his way to the rim. And the junior forward’s emphatic block on the defensive end five minutes into the second half emboldened the Dean Dome crowd.
But with 12:59 to play, an easy basket off the glass by FSU center Boris Bojanovsky trimmed the UNC lead down to a mere three points at 48-45.
Both squads relentlessly worked the ball inside down the stretch – picking up fouls or finishing at the rim. Mayes continued to put on a shooting clinic for the Seminoles, knocking down three after three to keep his team in it.
In the end, though, to the delight of the home crowd, it was Carolina that was able to hold on against a young and steadily improving FSU team that showed flashes of potential future success.
UNC sophomore forward Kennedy Meeks says the Tar Heels will do whatever it takes to tough out victories.
“It’s all about toughness. I think that’s what we have really been focusing on since we have players down. Coach has been preaching that in practice. It’s all about picking our teammates up and really grinding it out,” Meeks says.
The Tar Heels face a quick turnaround, back in action Monday night against the Syracuse Orange. The game is scheduled for a 7 p.m. tipoff in the Smith Center.
In his tenure, Florida State men’s basketball head coach Leonard Hamilton has transformed the Seminoles, who won the 2012 ACC Tournament title, from an afterthought into a formidable force in college basketball.
WCHL’s Blake Hodge had a chance to chat with Coach Hamilton as his FSU squad aims for an upset in Chapel Hill Saturday afternoon.
***Listen to the conversation***http://chapelboro.com/sports/acc/unc-scouting-report-fsu-coach-leonard-hamilton/
***Listen to the story***
Despite the mediocre record, the Seminoles are coming in with some momentum, fresh off a gritty road win at Clemson earlier this week.
There are mixed reviews for the Tar Heels. Carolina has won four straight in conference play and is coming off an impressive performance at Wake Forest, where the game was never in doubt.
But the injury bug has hit. Exactly who will be available for active duty Saturday remains a mystery. Nate Britt and Theo Pinson are just the latest duo in a discouragingly long line of Tar Heels getting banged up.
Coach Williams says the health of his players is even cutting into valuable practice time.
“We haven’t had very many practices recently. We’ve been trying to milk minutes for Marcus [Paige] and Joel Berry’s not out there. Nate’s [Britt] the only healthy point guard, and he got beat up tonight [Wed.],” Coach Williams says.
But back on the court, Wednesday night’s road effort in Winston-Salem showcased a renewed commitment to aggression in the paint.
Coach Williams says not much has changed since his prediction in the preseason – if the Tar Heels want to be a championship-caliber basketball team, the big guys are going to have to do the heavy lifting.
“I said in the first press conference that we had that our team needed a couple big guys to step up and be big-time players. I’ll still say that right now. From the perimter, we’re okay, but Marcus [Paige] hasn’t played the way I want him to play or the way he wants to play. But if the big guys give us those kind of numbers, that’s pretty good,” Coach Williams says.
Injuries and foul trouble coupled to influence Coach Williams’ decision to incorporate a 2-3 zone against the Deacs. But despite the burgeoning use of the zone, don’t expect the Tar Heels to discard their preferred man-to-man style any time soon.
Junior forward Brice Johnson says his teammates need to do a better job of avoiding fouls by playing smarter.
“We went in the zone. At the same time, you can’t rely on that every game. It’s just something that was in the heat of the moment, and Coach decided to do. From now on, we got to watch our fouls, don’t make silly fouls and execute on the defensive end,” Johnson says.
UNC’s balanced scoring has junior guard Marcus Paige confident about the state of the Tar Heels as they progress deeper into the ACC gauntlet.
“We were able to get a nice, comfortable lead. Justin’s [Jackson] playing better. If Kennedy [Meeks] and Brice play like they did tonight, that’s great. J.P. [Tokoto]’s finding his comfort zone. I made a couple shots. I think we’re starting to hit our stride,” Paige says.
UNC’s opponent this weekend, FSU, could offer some resistance to a potential home steamrolling. The Seminoles, no longer an afterthought after their stirring 2012 ACC Tournament title, will be hungry for another statement in a disappointing season to date.
A pair of junior guards, Aaron Thomas and Montay Brandon, does most of the work for Leonard Hamilton’s Seminoles, who have shown a knack for jumping up and surprising elite teams.
One thing is for sure. The Seminoles should lace up their shoes tight against UNC. Coach Williams wants the Tar Heels to speed up proceedings.
“I like the pace, but again, we’re still not going as fast as I want us to go. If we were better shooters, I’d want us to go even faster, but I like to be more selective with our shot selection. Shooting sixty percent for the game is extremely good. When we shoot the ball like that, I think we’re a really good basketball team if you don’t play stupid sometimes,” Coach Williams says.
UNC leads the all-time series with FSU, 46-12, and has emerged victorious the last four meetings.http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/surging-tar-heels-take-struggling-seminoles/
And so the Tar Heels’ disappointing 2014 campaign will come to a close in Motown. It’s a fitting end (a dreary and cold one in the Midwest at that) for Carolina in a season that began with its head coach, Larry Fedora, proclaiming “it’s time.” Time for what, exactly, I’m not sure, but it certainly wasn’t a trip to the Quick Lane Bowl to face the equally mediocre 7-5 Rutgers Scarlet Knights.
Grab your tickets, folks! Get ‘em while they’re hot. I hear you can grab a pair of upper deck tickets for $75 each. After all, who doesn’t want to spend Christmas in Detroit?
The only one who might be excited about UNC’s bowl destination is Eric Ebron. The ex-Tar Heel turned Detroit Lion won’t have to travel far to watch his former teammates play. Enjoy, Ebron. I’m sitting this one out.
Strap yourselves in, Carolina fans. I’m setting the over/under for the number of times we hear the word “platoon” Saturday at 50. Place your bets!
If you haven’t heard, the Tar Heels head to Rupp Arena Saturday for a meeting with the No. 1 team in the land – the Kentucky Wildcats. I’m still waiting to hear back from John Calipari’s folks for an interview…then I can ask him which side he’d like on that over/under. He’s a betting man, right?
The real question in this game is whether the blue platoon or the white platoon gets more playing time. “What did you think about that platoon shift there? I don’t know, Calipari may have taken the blue platoon out a little too soon – they’re a more offensively-gifted platoon.” Just a taste.
But let’s face it: the result isn’t really in doubt. The margin of victory? Sure. UK is really good.
Just remember, we won’t be watching a war movie this weekend. This will be college basketball. It will be easy to confuse the two. You’ll be all “platooned” out when the final buzzer sounds around 2 p.m. Saturday.
FREE ADVICE: Get your earplugs ready.
Has there ever been a more dominant team less appreciated (or, ummm….more disrespected) than Florida State?
29 straight victories. Defending national champions. Three-time defending ACC champions. Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback. Tradition. Pageantry. Legends.
You can think whatever you’d like about Jameis Winston’s childishly foolish behavior off the field, but I choose to separate the product on the field from the transgressions off it.
And the product I’ve witnessed on the field since November 24th, 2012 (the last time they came out on the wrong end of a scoreboard) has been nothing short of spectacular.
And yet, as the Seminoles continued to rack up the victories this season, they began to slide down the College Football Playoff rankings. In effect, FSU was penalized for doing what? Winning. That’s downright laughable.
Dear committee members, I don’t envy your job. It’s a tough one, no doubt. But you’re missing the forest for the trees.
The goal of a game is to win. Score more than your opponent. Who’s done that better than FSU? Nobody.
Flash only takes you so far. Substance prevails. FSU has plenty of that. But this year, at least, FSU isn’t sexy. Americans like sexy.
Perhaps that’s why each week, without fail, prognosticators, pundits and so-called experts pick the Noles to lose. This will be the week, they say. The week they won’t find a way to escape.
Yes, some day, maybe very soon, it will all be over. The Seminoles will lose. Most people will be happy.
But until then, I choose to give credit where credit is due. I’ll embrace the gritty determination, the steely composure under pressure and the ability to flip the switch. I admire it all. Why hate? Appreciate!
This year’s FSU team undoubtedly has more cracks in the armor than last year’s dominant display of perfection – in every phase of the game. The defense has holes. Jameis is more errant with the football. But in a way, to me, that makes the 2014 Noles even more impressive.
They’ve persevered. They overcame off-the-field issues. They survived the media onslaught. They’ve taken everybody’s best shot each and every week. They’ve been hated, and they’ve handled that too.
Sometimes you forget that these are 18, 19 and 20-year-old kids.
It’s far easier to get to the top than to stay there. Everybody wants to knock you off the pedestal, especially if you’re Jameis Winston – the guy everybody loves to hate. So what’s the magic formula to the Seminoles’ ability to stave off all challengers? There are lots of ingredients.
But the man stirring that potent concoction is Jimbo Fisher.
I still remember sitting a few feet away from the FSU head coach back in July at the ACC preseason media event in Greensboro.
There was something in the glint of his eyes and the infectious conviction in his words that made me a believer. Right then and there. Signed. Sealed. Delivered.
He let me take a peek behind the curtain. He talked for over 20 minutes on this thing called the “attitude of domination.” He discussed how in order to be special, you have to do something different that others aren’t willing to do. The throngs of national media members listened to the man preach.
Some coaches are X’s and O’s guys. And yes, Jimbo’s no slouch in that department. But I’m convinced that what sets him apart is not his football expertise.
No, Jimbo’s a philosopher. Behind those dadgum-its and goofy smiles, there lies a resolute belief system for success. I see how he gets his Noles to buy in.
We’ve grown so accustomed to Jimbo being asked the same questions by the TV sideline reporters after each and every thrilling come-from-behind victory this season. One of those questions is always, “How do you guys continue to come up with these fourth quarter comeback wins?”
Jimbo’s regular response? “It’s who we are.”
That resonates with me. And more importantly, it’s resonated in the hearts and minds of his players.
Through it all, the Seminoles have continued to live up to the University’s motto – UNCONQUERED. 29 and counting…
But yet again, everybody and their mother will be picking Florida State to lose when it takes the field in Pasadena against the mighty juggernaut that is Oregon in the national semifinals.
That’s just fine with Jimbo and the Noles. In fact, they like it that way.
Follow Matt on Twitter @moakes3http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/oakes-outlook-bowls-roles-noles/
The seventh-seeded North Carolina baseball team dropped its opening game of pool play in the ACC Tournament by a score of 7-1 to second-seeded Florida State Wednesday night at NewBridge Bank Park in Greensboro.
With the loss, the Tar Heels fell to 33-24 on the season while the Seminoles improved to 42-14 with the victory.
Starting FSU pitcher Billy Strode tossed six shutout innings to stymie the Carolina bats as Taylore Cherry struggled to hold the Seminole offense at bay. The Seminoles scored four runs in the fourth inning to seize control of the game.
The Tar Heels avoided a shutout by getting on the board in the seventh thanks to Alex Raburn’s RBI single that scored Landon Lassiter.
Heisman trophy winner Jameis Winston entered the game in relief duty for FSU and secured the final nine outs to give Strode his second win of the season.
It doesn’t get any easier for Carolina. Next up for the Tar Heels is a Friday night meeting with third-seeded Virginia at 7 p.m. Head coach Mike Fox says Benton Moss is expected to start things off on the mound for the Tar Heels against the Cavaliers.
The North Carolina baseball team avoided a sweep at the hands of No. 4 Florida State Sunday at Boshamer Stadium by claiming a 5-4 victory to improve to 30-21 overall and 14-13 in the ACC.
***Listen to the story***
With the loss, the Seminoles dropped to 39-12 overall and 19-8 in conference.
It wasn’t your typical Sunday baseball series finale for the Tar Heels. It was graduation day, Mother’s day and senior day all wrapped into one.
Top all that off with the fact that a series sweep could have possibly placed Carolina on the wrong side of the NCAA Tournament bubble, and Sunday’s game had plenty surrounding it. Carolina rose to the occasion.
Tyler Ramirez drove in Parks Jordan with a tiebreaking single in the bottom of the seventh, and the Tar Heels held on for the gritty win.
Unlike the first two games of the FSU series, Carolina converted on putting two men on base in the first inning, cashing in to seize the early 1-0 lead.
The Tar Heels looked to be in firm command up 4-0 in the middle of the fourth inning. But drama would soon ensue.
Carolina freshman starter Zac Gallen ran into trouble in the fifth. The Seminole rally ultimately tied the game at four runs in the sixth inning.
Tar Heel reliever Reilly Hovis was called to the mound to steady the Seminole charge.
Meanwhile, FSU brought in its bullpen ace Gage Smith. The right-hander retired the first seven batters he faced before the Tar Heels were able to break through in the seventh.
Skye Bolt flew out to center, but Jordan was able to advance on the play, and the senior crossed home plate on Ramirez’s clutch two-out, two-strike single to right field.
Now armed with the lead to protect, Hovis, like he has all season long, clamped down. The sophomore allowed just a pair of singles in the final two innings, and he closed out the game in style with a strikeout. It was Hovis’ seventh win of the year.
It was certainly a memorable final home stretch for senior Jordan. Playing in what will likely be his final home games at Boshamer Stadium, Jordan played inspired baseball.
In his swansong to Chapel Hill, Jordan carded a .526 batting average, recorded six RBIs, and scored four runs in five games. He also showed off his versatility by starting in three different positions.
The Tar Heels have now reached the 30-win mark for the 16th consecutive season under head coach Mike Fox.
Next up for Carolina comes a four-game road trip beginning Tuesday at Gardner-Webb. Carolina will then make the trip down to south Florida to face a tough Miami squad in a three-game set.
The North Carolina baseball team dropped its second straight to No. 4 Florida State 10-2 Saturday afternoon at Boshamer Stadium to lose the series and drop to 29-21 on the season and 13-13 in the ACC.
With the win, the Seminoles improved to 39-11 overall and 19-7 in conference action.
Eight different Seminoles had hits to more than back up starting pitcher Mike Compton, who allowed a mere two runs on eight hits over eight innings.
Carolina starter Benton Moss struggled out of the gates, working up his pitch count early on. Moss was eventually pulled in the fifth inning. Trevor Kelley was his replacement.
Landon Lassiter and Tyler Ramirez each recorded a pair of hit, but there wasn’t enough firepower in the Tar Heel bats to stay with the explosive Seminoles.
FSU’s Justin Gonzalez and Ben DeLuzio led their team with two RBIs each while four different Seminoles scored twice.
Carolina will hope for a better outcome tomorrow in the series finale. Sunday is Senior Day. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m.http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/seminoles-clinch-series-10-2-win-tar-heels/
The North Carolina baseball team couldn’t get anything going on offense and fell to Florida State 7-0 Friday night in front of a near sell-out crowd at Boshamer Stadium.
With the loss, the Tar Heels dropped to 29-20 overall and 13-12 in the ACC while the Seminoles improved to 38-11 overall and 18-7 in conference play. The FSU-UNC head-to-head record in Chapel Hill is now locked up at 16-16.
The three runs given up by Carolina ace Trent Thornton came off a wild pitch that scored two and a bloop single.
Michael Russell saw his 19-game hitting streak come to an end on a rough night for the Tar Heels.
Thornton started off strong, striking out his first batter faced. Florida State was unable to score DJ Stewart, who ripped a double to the warning track.
Skye Bolt and Landon Lassiter went to work in the bottom of the first, each singling with powerful drives. But FSU pitcher Luke Weaver put an end to the Tar Heel scoring threat with a strikeout of Tom Zengel.
In the second inning, a wild pitch allowed two FSU base runners to score, giving the Seminoles the 2-0 lead.
A lack of hustle on the wild pitch likely cost Korey Dunbar his spot at catcher as Head Coach Mike Fox replaced him with Adrian Chacon.
In the third, Lassiter got on board first base with a sharply hit ball up the middle. But Lassiter was stranded when Michael Russell failed to produce at the plate for the third out.
The fourth inning was a mixed bag for Thornton. A pair of strikeouts bookended a wild pitch that hit a batter. The Seminoles cashed in with a run when Justin Gonzalez striped one out to left field to give the visiting team the 3-0 advantage.
Thornton was made to work in the fifth as well, but battled through to prevent another possible score for the Seminoles with men on first and second base.
Spencer Trayner replaced Thornton on the mound for the Tar Heels in the sixth inning and fared nicely, frustrating the Seminole batters with some crafty throws.
But it was the Carolina offense that was especially stymied by Weaver and the Florida State defense.
Stewart scored two more insurance runs for the Seminoles in the top of the seventh with a powerful lashing deep to center field that gave Florida State a 5-0 lead. The deficit proved too much for Carolina to handle.
Game two of the series begins at 1 p.m. Saturday in Chapel Hill.http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/carolina-baseball-gets-blasted-seminoles/
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
***Listen to the story***
With the loss, the Seminoles dropped to 15-11 on the year and 6-8 in conference action.
The Tar Heels earned their first victory of the season when trailing at the half thanks to some spirited play by Kennedy Meeks and Brice Johnson that kept Carolina in the game in the waning minutes of the first half. Meeks finished with a career high 23 points while Johnson tallied 14 points of his own.
Carolina came out sluggishly, committing careless turnovers and shooting a woeful 1-10 from the field. FSU took full advantage by sprinting out to a 17-3 lead. Fouls piled up for both teams early on with James Michael McAdoo, Brice Johnson and J.P. Tokoto getting into foul trouble. McAdoo, held scoreless, was completely taken out of the game by whistles, eventually bowing out of game late in the second half.
“It was about as bizarre a game as I’ve ever been involved with early. There was nothing that we did that was very good. […] But our guys just sort of hung in there. We started to get a couple plays made by some guys off the bench,” Coach Williams says.
***Listen to Roy Williams’ postgame press conference***
The Tar Heels battled on by dominating the glass, eventually claiming their first lead of the game at 57-55 midway through the second half. From there, Paige took over, knocking down shot after shot like he does so often, saving his best for the closing half.
The foul shooting problems continued for the Tar Heels, who managed to go only 12-20 from the line, a 60 percent clip.
Ian Miller led the scoring charge for the Seminoles with 22 points , but it wasn’t enough to overcome the determined overall Carolina team effort on this night.
McAdoo won the opening tipoff, but Carolina failed to convert on the first few possession of the contest. Florida State’s Miller scored the first points of the game to give his team the 2-0 lead with 18:21 to play in the first half.
With the Tar Heel offense out of sync, FSU took full advantage, and when Miller’s three-pointer found the nets, the Seminoles snagged the 7-0 lead.
Kennedy Meeks scored Carolina’s first points of the game to reduce the deficit down to 9-2, but Miller could not miss. The senior guard nailed another three-pointer to extend the cushion out to 12-2 with 16:46 on the first half clock.
J.P. Tokoto picked up his second foul less than five minutes into the game when a timeout was called. The Seminoles were leading 12-3. Carolina was shooting an astonishing 1-10 from the floor.
Joel James failed to get an inbound pass by Aaron Thomas, and he converted the steal with a basket. Head Coach Roy Williams was forced to call a timeout with 13:38 to play and the Seminoles leading 17-3.
Out of the timeout, Brice Johnson scored inside and picked up a foul. He made the point after to reduce the deficit down to 17-6. With 11:07 to play in the opener, Carolina found themselves trailing 21-6.
More bad news followed for the Tar Heels with McAdoo and Tokoto both picking up their second fouls midway through the first half. Meanwhile, Florida State’s Miller and Thomas continued to double as premier scoring threats.
Carolina’s Leslie McDonald worked his way to the free throw line and made both shots to close the gap to 22-10 with 8 :51 left on the first half clock. A beautiful pass from Tokoto to Johnson beat the Seminole zone defense and cut the lead down to 23-14.
With 6:03 to play in the first half, FSU Head Coach Leonard Hamilton took his first timeout with the Seminoles holding a 25-16 advantage. The defensive intensity for the Tar Heels was picking up, stymieing the FSU attack to creep back into the contest.
Johnson was helping to keep the Tar Heels in the game, even getting Carolina to within five points, but Thomas nailed a jumper to extend the margin back out to seven points at 27-20 with under five minutes left in the half.
McAdoo was furious when a third foul was whistled on him. He came to the bench asking Coach Williams what he did wrong. The Seminoles were leading 28-20 at the 3:57 mark.
Johnson dunked a basket and Kennedy Meeks made a jumper to reduce the FSU lead down to 32-25 with 3:10 remaining in the half.
***Listen to the call by the Tar Heel Sports Network’s Jones Angell***
Meeks responded again with a more active pace and a score to get the Tar Heels within 34-31 with seconds to go, and Meeks made a closing layup to score his thirteenth point of the game and place the halftime score at 36-33.
The second half got underway with Meeks picking up where he left off at the end of the first half with strong play around the rim. Carolina was trailing 46-43 after FSU was called for goal tending on a McDonald drive.
Florida State’s Miller sniped a three-pointer from way outside to extend the home team’s advantage back out to 49-43. Meeks and Johnson found ways to score again to carry the offensive load for the Tar Heels. With 14:08 remaining in the game, the Seminoles were clinging to a 51-49 lead.
Michael Ojo dunked one through the rim for Florida State, but Paige drove inside for a score for Carolina on the ensuing possession. Britt found a gap in the Seminole defense and layed one in to tie the game at 53 points with 12:04 to play.
Desmond Hubert contributed a put-back slam to spur on the Carolina offense. The game was knotted up at 55-all with 10:32 remaining in the contest.
Carolina spurted out to a 62-57 advantage thanks to the first three-pointer of the contest for the Tar Heels with under 10 minutes left in the game that was characterized by an accelerating pace in the second half.
Paige, coming alive in the second half per usual, hit another deep shot from behind the arc to give Carolina the 65-59 lead with 8:14 to play.
Paige was up to ten points in the second half when he tallied another made jumper to his stat line. At the 6:17 mark, Carolina maintained a 67-61 edge. Florida State worked its way to the foul line, but only made one. But the red-hot Paige was pacing the Tar Heels, knocking down another three-pointer to post the 70-64 UNC lead with under 5:39 to play.
***Listen to the call***
With 3:18 to play, Carolina was clinging to a 70-67 edge as the offense was stalling out at the wrong time. Meanwhile, the fouls kept flowing from the Tar Heel defenders, sending the Seminoles to the line with prime chances to seize control of the game.
Carolina managed to salt away the victory in the waning minutes, despite continued foul shooting problems and shocking free throw miss by Paige in a crucial moment.
Next up for the Tar Heels will be a home game against No. 5 Duke Thursday night in the Smith Center.
Click here for the complete game photo gallery.