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.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla.– The 17-7 North Carolina men’s basketball team rides a six-game winning streak down to Tallahassee Monday night to take on a 15-10 Florida State team that is coming off a road win at Wake Forest, a team Carolina lost to earlier this season.
***Listen to the story***
The dynamic duo of James Michael McAdoo and Marcus Paige has provided a welcome boost to the Carolina offensive attack. The two say their court chemistry is coming together as the season marches on.
But Head Coach Roy Williams says he needs the rest of the team to emerge and bring some offensive production to the table.
“We got to get some other guys to step up and make shots. That’s the bottom line. Other guys got to step up and help us,” Coach Williams says.
Monday night’s ESPN matchup at 7 p.m. in the Donald L. Tucker Center will be the next opportunity for one of the talented Tar Heel role players to step back into the limelight.
Kennedy Meeks, J.P. Tokoto and Brice Johnson all have shown bright flashes of brilliance, but Coach Williams says he wants consistent performers.
Consistency is something Coach Williams has seemingly found on the defensive side of the floor. He says the greater intensity from the defense has been the cornerstone to the Tar Heel turnaround.
“Everybody has some big-time strengths and weaknesses up front. We don’t have anybody who is quite as complete as we’d like them to be. But it’s all about the team defense. There was one key position where James Michael just got off in the lane and helped, and we ended up coming up with the basketball,” Coach Williams says.
McAdoo posted 24 points and 12 rebounds Saturday against Pittsburgh. The junior says he’s feeling much more comfortable on the floor these days.
“I’m trying to play at that level throughout the game. I realize I’m not going to be a scoring machine, scoring every time I get the basketball. That’s just not Carolina basketball. When I’m open, just finding the open shots and just taking it upon myself to step up,” McAdoo says.
Sophomore guard Paige says the young Tar Heels have matured greatly since the 0-3 start in ACC play. Now sitting in fourth place in conference, Paige says he’s proud of his teammates’ resolve and determination to improve.
“It was extremely frustrating because I was struggling myself as well, and prior to that, I had been playing well the entire year. It was tough, but the way we came together and really decided at that point when we were 0-3 that we were going to make some things happen. I’m happy for my teammates. This young bunch has grown up a lot since then,” Paige says.
Despite Carolina’s improved play of late, escaping Tallahassee with a victory will be no easy task. Although Florida State has been struggling in the ACC with a 6-7 record, the Seminoles have two solid scoring threats in Aaron Thomas and Ian Miller, both of whom are shooting north of 45 percent from the floor.
But the Tar Heels appear to be up to the challenge thanks to a new steadfast commitment to playing hard through 40 complete minutes of basketball.
“I mean, that’s really what it is. We are just coming out with more fire and intensity, more attention to detail on defense. We are taking what we learned on the scouting report to the court. I think that’s one big thing, we are paying attention to what teams like to do and we try to take them,” Paige says.http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/grown-tar-heels-travel-tally-seminole-battle/
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Diamond DeShields scored 25 points and No. 13 North Carolina’s second half effort brought down No. 18 Florida State 65-61 on Sunday.
Stephanie Mavugna tossed in 13 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for North Carolina (14-2, 2-1 Atlantic Coast Conference).
Florida State (14-3, 2-1 ACC) led the Tar Heels 36-29 at intermission after taking control midway through the half and leading by as many as 10 points on a Cheetah Delgado 3-pointer at 2:57.
It took North Carolina almost 12 minutes of the second half to catch the Seminoles when Xylina McDaniel broke inside for a layup tying the score at 50. McDaniel added two free throws and another score inside the paint and the Tar Heels led 56-50 two minutes later.
FloridaState could move no closer than four points down the stretch.
Morgan Jones led Seminole scorers with 18 points.http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/13-unc-women-edge-18-florida-st-65-61/
PASADENA, CA — Jameis Winston has a BCS championship to go with his Heisman Trophy.
The freshman tossed a two-yard touchdown pass to Kelvin Benjamin with 13 seconds remaining to give FloridaState a 34-31 comeback victory over Auburn. Winston was 6 of 7 for 77 yards on a game-winning drive that took just 66 seconds and was engineered right after Tre Mason ran for a 37-yard touchdown to put the Tigers ahead 31-27 with 1:19 to play. Mason’s scoring run came after Kermit Whitfield had put Florida State on top for the first time since the first quarter with a 100-yard kickoff return to make it 27-24 with 4:31 left.
The Seminoles struggled early after winning their 13 regular-season games by an average of 43 points, falling behind for the first time since September 28. Melvin Ray’s 50-yard touchdown grab put the Tigers ahead 21-3 before FSU rallied to finish 14-0.
Winston was 20 of 35 for 237 yards, two fourth-quarter touchdowns and no interceptions before he was named the game’s offensive most valuable player. He was 14 of 20 for 175 yards in the second half on his 20th birthday.
Devonta Freeman had a team-high 73 rushing yards on 11 carries, including a short scoring run that began the Seminoles’ comeback late in the second quarter.
Mason shredded the FSU defense, carrying 34 times for 195 yards and the touchdown that put Auburn on the verge of keeping the BCS title within the SEC. Nick Marshall ran for 45 yards and a TD and was 14 of 27 for 230 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.
It was the final BCS championship before it’s replaced by the College Football Playoff next season. The Southeastern Conference won nine of the 16 BCS title games, including seven straight before Florida State claimed its third national championship and first since the 1999 season.http://chapelboro.com/sports/national-sports/florida-state-wins-bcs-title-game/
NEW YORK — Jameis Winston has won the Heisman Trophy, making the Florida State quarterback the second straight freshman to win the award.
Winston is a landslide winner of college football’s most prestigious individual honor. He received 668 first-place votes to finish 1,501 points ahead of AJ McCarron of Alabama.
Texas &M’s Johnny Manziel was the first freshman to win the Heisman, and now Winston has made it two in the 79-year history of the award. Winston also is the youngest winner at 23 days short of 20.
Winston is the nation’s top-rated passer and has led the top-ranked Seminoles to the BCS championship game against No. 2 Auburn on his birthday, Jan. 6.
The 19-year-old also was investigated last month for a year-old sexual assault, but no charges were filed.http://chapelboro.com/sports/acc/famous-jameis-winston-wins-heisman-trophy/
TALLAHASSEE–Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston is in the clear.
The sexual battery investigation was closed Wednesday, and Florida State Attorney William Meggs announced no charges would be filed against the Heisman candidate Thursday.
“We have carefully examined the evidence in this case and have concluded no charges will be filed in this case. We prosecute the cases that we have evidence on,” Meggs says.
Winston had been under investigation since Nov. 13 for the alleged Dec. 7, 2012 incident.
The No. 1 Florida State Seminoles will depart for Charlotte to face the Duke Blue Devils in the ACC Championship Game on Saturday at 8 p.m.
Winston will be starting in that match-up as the Seminoles hope to win the ACC and advance to the BCS National Championship Game in January.
Photo courtesy of GoHeels.com
CHAPEL HILL– No. 12 UNC volleyball kicks off its Florida swing Friday night against the No. 20 Florida State Seminoles.
For the first time under head coach Joe Sagula, the Tar Heels reached 20 wins before November. Last time out on the court, the Tar Heels shut down Pittsburgh 3-1.
Star Tar Heel player Jovana Bjelica leads the team with 232 kills, 20 aces, and 41 blocks while Leigh Andrew has posted 161 kills of her own to go along with 219 digs.
UNC is 20-36 all-time against FSU, but Carolina currently sits tied atop the ACC standings with a 9-1 record in conference and a 20-1 mark overall.
Florida State enters with a 17-5 overall record and 8-2 tally in conference play. The 7 p.m. match Friday night can be viewed on ESPN3.
Photo courtesy of Jeffrey A. Camarati
CHAPEL HILL - On the heels of its first loss of the season, the Carolina women’s soccer team will have little time to regroup. A Wednesday trip to Tallahassee for a league game against the always tough Seminoles of Florida State awaits the Tar Heels.
Sunday’s loss to Notre Dame marked only the 35th time in 829 career matches that Carolina has failed to score a goal. But the Irish themselves have managed to shut out the Tar Heels on four separate occasions.
Despite the close decision, the loss dropped Carolina four spots in the polls as the top-ranked team fell to No. 5, according to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NCSAA). However, the Tar Heels did still receive on No. 1 vote. Notre Dame received a No. 1 vote as well, but only jumped one spot in the polls from No. 8 to No. 7.
The No. 3 Seminoles are 6-0-2 this year and 1-0-1 in the ACC after downing Duke 2-1 Sunday in Durham. UNC had dominated FSU all-time, but the last two meetings have gone the way of Florida State.
This premier ACC matchup will be nationally televised at 8:00 p.m. on ESPNU.http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/womens-soccer-looking-to-recover-versus-fsu/
CHAPEL HILL – The No. 5 North Carolina baseball team slipped past No. 8 Florida State Monday night 4-3 finishing regular season play.
In the first inning, freshman outfielder Skye Bolt singled to center field to score senior outfielder Chaz Frank from third.
The Seminoles turned around and tied the game 1-1 in the top of the second against senior Tar Heel pitcher Chris Munnelly.
Sophomore infielder Michael Russell helped regain the lead for North Carolina with back-to-back singles, which allowed both Bolt and senior first baseman Cody Stubbs to score. The Tar Heels led 3-1.
Freshman pitcher Reilly Hovis entered the game for the Tar Heels. The Seminoles then fought back and scored single runs in the fifth and sixth innings.
Freshman pitcher Trent Thornton then entered the game in the top of the seventh inning. Junior catcher Brian Holberton singled in the game-winning run in the eight inning, as his hit allowed Cody Stubbs to score from third.
With the win, the Tar Heels finished the regular season 48-8 overall; the Seminoles fell to 44-12.
North Carolina reached an all-time best in wins this season, as it surpassed the 45 wins marked by the 2006, 2007, and 2008 teams.
Up next, the Tar Heels will compete in the ACC Tournament held in the Durham Bulls Athletic Park in Durham. North Carolina will play Miami in the second round of round-robin play on Thursday at 3:00 p.m.