The No. 14 Carolina men’s basketball team takes on No. 4 Duke Saturday night at Cameron Indoor Stadium. The Tar Heels defended their home court against the Blue Devils earlier this season, but a season sweep would be even sweeter.
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Carolina point guard Marcus Paige speaks on the need for the Tar Heels to regain Coach Williams’ famous “sense of urgency” as the Duke game and postseason play draws near.
“It meant more to them [Notre Dame] for the majority of the game. That can’t happen, especially because we’re a team close to the top of the ACC fighting for a third seed and a high seed in the Tournament. We can’t have that kind of effort,” Paige says.
Paige says Carolina’s level of play has dropped off a bit in the last couple games despite the victories. He says if the Tar Heels want to accomplish their big goals, they need to ratchet back up the intensity.
“That’s three or four in a row against teams we are capable of beating by a better margin than we have. That’s no knock on them, but we’ve been playing really well lately. If we have big goals and dreams, we can’t have all these sluggish games,” Paige says.
Despite Duke’s shocking loss to lowly WakeForest in Joel Coliseum Wednesday night, Carolina can expect the Blue Devils’ best to come out at Cameron Indoor Saturday night in primetime. After all, Duke is a perfect 16-0 at home this season.
With that being said, junior James Michael McAdoo says he doesn’t feel like he needs to go out there and “be Superman”. He says Carolina’s 12-game winning streak has given all the Tar Heels more confidence, loosening his scoring burden.
“I feel like all these last games have been important to us, especially starting the way we did in conference play. We realize the importance every time we step out there […I think the biggest thing for me personally is going out there, playing in my game and not trying to be Superman,” McAdoo says.
Senior Leslie McDonald says this lull in game activity after the Notre Dame win Monday comes at just the right time for the Tar Heels. He says it helps some banged up players recover and be primed for the Duke showdown.
“We’re going to be able to rest our bodies a little bit, go back to practice, evaluate ourselves and have hard practices to prepare us for Duke. I think it’s a wonderful time,” McDonald says.
With a win on Saturday, Carolina would claim not only a season sweep of their bitter rivals, but also claim a top three seeding in the ACC Tournament next week.http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/carolinas-paige-mcadoo-paige-reloading-duke-finale-postseson/
Carolina football is back in action. The team is busy with their preparations for the 2014 season with high expectations surrounding them.
Head Coach Larry Fedora says it feels great to get back to the grind of the football field accompanied by old and new faces.
“It’s fun to be back out there on the football field doing something football-related. It was a lot of fun. I think it was fun for all the players and all the old and new coaches, everybody together,” Coach Fedora says.
And how are those fresh faces handling it? Coach Fedora says the new coaches, like offensive coordinator Seth Littrell, are still learning some things on the fly.
“I think the transition has gone really well. I think the guys have done a nice job. They understand what’s going on. Two of them today were a little wide-eyed, moving and getting from drill to drill. But their players know what’s going on,” Coach Fedora says.
There were some positives to senior signal caller Bryn Renner going down with an injury last season. Coach Fedora says the extra in-game snaps for Marquise Williams were beneficial heading into 2014 spring ball.
“Marquise got a lot of reps. He started some games. He’s got some live action under his belt, which made him a lot more comfortable today. You could see that when you’re looking at all the quarterbacks as they’re competing. He’s just a lot more comfortable than the other two,” Coach Fedora says.
Williams says he is taking on even more of a leadership role now. He says he’s trying to build his teammates’ belief in him and encouraging them to strive to be the best they can be each and every practice.
“To be a leader – that’s the main key. Don’t sit in the back. I’m taking the keys to the Porsche this time. It’s about business and making these guys believe in me. That’s one thing I do – keep pushing these guys to be great. I preach every day to be great,” Williams says.
The annual Blue & White Spring Game is scheduled for April 12 at Kenan Stadium.http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/spring-ball-coach-fedora-managing-transition-qb-williams-embracing-leadership-role/
The Tar Heels come into the matchup on a roll, winners of seven straight. The Panthers enter the contest off a tough extra innings loss to Western Kentucky.
Right-handed ace Trent Thornton will start on the mound for Carolina Friday. Thornton currently boasts a 3-0 record and a 1.33 ERA with 22 strikeouts.
Benton Moss has registered a 2.49 ERA this year and is coming off of a complete-game performance against North Florida on March 1. Moss will get the start on Saturday.
The freshman bats will need to continue to stay hot this weekend against the Panthers. Freshman Wood Myers is leading the team offensively with a .390 average in the leadoff spot.
Last season, Pittsburgh was 4-3 against nationally ranked competition, but Friday will mark the first career game between the Tar Heels and the Panthers.
First pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m. Friday afternoon in Chapel Hill.http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/tar-heel-baseball-opens-acc-campaign-pittsburgh-weekend-series/
The UNC baseball team is on a seven-game winning streak after starting the season 1-3. Ahead of the ACC-opening Pittsburgh series, head coach Mike Fox spoke with Ron Stutts on the WCHL Thursday morning news.
***Listen to the Interview***http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/mike-fox-joins-ron-stutts-diamond-talk-ahead-pittsburgh-series/
With the loss, the Wildcats fell to 3-6 on the season.
UNC sophomore Reilly Hovis earned his second win of the season with three scoreless and hitless innings, striking out five.
The Tar Heels blew the game open in the bottom of the sixth when Davidson struggled to find the plate with its pitches and Carolina scored four runs off an Adrian Chacon RBI, a sac fly, wild pitch and a Wildcat error.
Carolina led 6-1 and would go on to tally four more runs to secure the comfortable midweek victory.
Skye Bolt went 1-2 for UNC with a trio of walks and a run scored. He also made a diving grab at the wall to steal extra bases from Davidson in the eighth inning.
Next up for the Tar Heels is an ACC opening series against ACC newcomer Pittsburgh. First pitch is scheduled for Friday at 3 p.m.
Associate Head Coach Andrew Calder says he understands the depth and talent in the ACC. Carolina’s No. 6 seed in the Tournament says it all, but Coach Calder says his team knows it can beat “anybody, anywhere.”
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“The conference, as we know, is very strong. With the addition of Notre Dame, it’s even stronger. We’re just trying to get better every day. We’ve been up and down, and I accept responsibility for the down parts there. We’re talented. We feel like we have a chance to beat anybody, anywhere. We’re looking forward to getting better, playing in the Tournament and showcasing our skills,” Coach Calder says.
Coach Calder says the extreme youth of the Tar Heels is overcome by their immense talent. He says the coaching staff doesn’t even consider them to be freshmen.
“Obviously they’re very talented. As coaches we know, in the end, players win games. They’re playing very well together. We never considered them as freshmen. We never gave them a bail-out that we’re young. […] We give them no excuses. They’re talented, and we’re trying to get better,” Coach Calder says.
The Tar Heels have been one of the most up-and-down squads in the country with exhilarating upsets coupled with shocking losses. Coach Calder says his team has been working on being more patient with its shot selection to become a much more consistent unit.
“We didn’t shoot the ball well some of those games. We had some good looks that didn’t go. Also, we didn’t defend as well as we could. We settled for a few more jump shots because they were available. We’re working on improving that,” Coach Calder says.
Coach Calder says Head Coach Sylvia Hatchell is undergoing her final round of cancer treatment this week and has designs on being back patrolling the sidelines with her Tar Heels for the NCAA Tournament.
Freshman sensation Diamond DeShields, who recently became the first UNC freshman to ever eclipse the 500-point mark, will need to save some of her best stuff for the ACC Tournament if Carolina wants to be holding up a trophy Sunday night. But ESPN’s National Rookie of the Year says she’s just happy to fulfill her role on the team.
“I guess I’m proud to score that many points. I just do what I got to do. Everyone has roles on the team. Stephanie [Mavunga] is a great rebounder and inside scorer. I think scoring is a role too. I think I’m good at having that role as scorer,” DeShields says.http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/talented-carolina-women-looking-build-consistency-acc-tournament/
***Listen to practice***
That was Carolina wide receivers coach Gunter Brewer and those were some sounds from Carolina football’s annual ‘Blue Dawn’, an intense early morning workout routine held in February that can come as a rude awakening for any unsuspecting new UNC football recruits.
With Blue Dawn behind them, the Tar Heels open up spring practice Wednesday at Navy Fields. After a solid recruiting class that seemingly shored up a few holes on the squad and with a bunch of returning athletes, especially on the offensive end, Carolina football appears to be primed for a run at an ACC Championship in 2014.
ESPN has Carolina in the Top 20 in the latest preseason projections. But the hard work continues for the Tar Heels.
***Listen to practice***
The Blue Dawn practices could be misconstrued as army basic training by some, but Coach Fedora says there’s still a lot more room for improvement for this group during the spring season.
“I thought our kids came out here with a lot of energy, excited to get out here this morning to start the new 2014 season. We got a long way to go. This is day one. We got guys that finally understand what we want. We got a lot of guys that still got a long way to go,” Coach Fedora says.
In addition to regular practices in Chapel Hill, the Tar Heels will conduct practices in Charlotte and Greensboro. The annual Blue & White Spring Game will be held at Kenan Stadium April 12.http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/back-grind-spring-football-officially-hits-carolina-amidst-high-hopes/
Carolina comes into the contest off a series sweep of North Florida, where the Tar Heel pitching staff carried the day. Sophomore ace Trent Thornton threw 7.2 scoreless innings while freshman Zac Gallen recorded his first career collegiate win.
WCHL will chat with UNC’s Thornton Friday morning at 7:20 a.m. during the Morning News.
Davidson is coming off a 2-1 series loss to Miami (OH) and will be looking to rebound in Chapel Hill. The Wildcats narrowly missed out on an upset victory over No. 8 N.C. State earlier in the season.
Wednesday’s game will be the final tune-up for the Tar Heels before embarking on their ACC campaign against Pittsburgh this weekend.http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/tar-heel-baseball-takes-davidson-wildcats-final-acc-tune/
With the loss, Notre Dame dropped to 15-16 on the season and 6-12 in conference action.
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The Tar Heels raced away from the Fighting Irish early on with in-form play from J.P. Tokoto. Carolina claimed the 41-27 lead at the intermission with a clean performance, only committing three turnovers despite shuffling nearly the entire team on and off the court due to Senior Day tradition.
Notre Dame went on a 10-1 run to start the second half. Carolina only managed to score eight points in over ten minutes after intermission. The free throw shooting woes continued to plague UNC as the Tar Heels shot 45.5 percent from the line on 22 attempts.
The Irish claimed the 56-54 lead with 3:46 to play, but Carolina closed out the game in fine form with clutch shots by both Marcus Paige and James Michael McAdoo.
Impressively, after falling behind 49-46, the Tar Heel defense held Notre Dame without a field goal for seven minutes and 52 seconds.
“Senior Night is always emotional to me. It’s emotional for Leslie [McDonald] because he didn’t have the kind of game that he’s had recently. Those four seniors have meant a lot to us,” Head Coach Roy Williams says.
***Listen to Roy Williams’ postgame remarks***
McAdoo led the scoring charge for the Tar Heels with 14 points while Tokoto reached double figures with an 11-point contribution.
Pat Connaughton provided 17 points for the Irish, but Eric Atkins led all scorers with 21 points. Despite the impressive outings, UNC overcame and emerged victorious on Senior Night.
The opening tipoff was won by Notre Dame, but they threw it away to hand the ball back to the senior Tar Heels and McAdoo.
Wade Moody popped a three-pointer to the delight of the crowd. McAdoo scored on the ensuing possession to give UNC the 4-0 lead.
McAdoo scored and drew the foul. He knocked down the foul shot after the senior role players were all relegated to the bench following their ceremonial start to the game.
With 16:45 on the first half clock, Carolina held the 8-4 advantage. Meeks scored inside off a sharp McAdoo assist.
Austin Burgett knocked down a three-pointer to reduce the Irish deficit down to four points with 14:43 on the clock.
J.P. Tokoto drained a deep jumper, finding some space while the Irish continued to struggle on the offensive end with turnovers and sluggish play.
Atkins scored on a smooth shot to close the gap down to three, but Kennedy Meeks replied with a score of his own to push the Tar Heels ahead 16-11 with 11:48 to play in the half.
Joel James powered his way to the basket, making the shot and getting fouled. He made the free throw to give UNC the 21-13 lead with 8:38 to play before halftime.
McAdoo flung the ball through the nets as the Carolina offense was roaring along, shredding the Fighting Irish defense.
McDonald nailed a shot from behind the arc to give the Tar Heels a 28-16 edge with 5:30 to play in the half. Meanwhile, Atkins continued to be the one player for the Irish who was keeping them in the contest, knocking down another beautiful jumper.
Paige responded on the other end, matching Atkins with a three-pointer of his own. Tokoto’s athleticism was on full display as he weaved around a couple Notre Dame defenders with an electric score.
After another McDonald strike, Carolina had the 35-22 advantage with 3:01 left in the half.
Tokoto streaked to the basket again out of a timeout, making the shot and picking up a foul in the process. With 2:13 on the first half clock, Carolina held a 37-24 lead over Notre Dame.
Freshman Steve Vasturia pulled away for a made jumper, but Tokoto continued his offensive storm with a score for the Tar Heels right after.
At the half, it was Carolina with the 41-27 advantage. The Tar Heels shot 50 percent from the floor in the first half.
Tokoto was leading the way with 9 points while McAdoo contributed 8 points for the Tar Heels. But even more impressively, Carolina only committed three turnovers in a half where the entire team saw action.
Notre Dame, meanwhile, was connecting on 42 percent of its shots. Atkins produced a team-leading 10 points for the Irish.
Pat Connaughton drained a deep three-pointer to trim the Tar Heel lead down to 42-37 as the Irish were on an 10-1 run to start the second half.
Brice Johnson scored UNC’s first field goal of the second half, but the Irish offense was rolling now. Atkins scored on the other end. With 15:43 to play, Carolina held a slim 44-39 advantage.
The lead was cut down to three when Atkins hit another jumper, and a three-point snipe tied the game at 44-44 with 14:41 to play.
Johnson responded with a score to break the tie as the crowd drew back into the contest. Notre Dame was making everything they looked at from the floor, sinking another long-range three-pointer to claim the lead at 47-46 with 13:38 left in the game.
A big block by McAdoo came at the 12:05 mark with Carolina trailing 49-46 with 11:57 to play.
Nate Britt drained a deep jumper to get the Carolina offense out of its funk while the defense responded with a stop.
After a turnaround jumper that sunk through the nets by McAdoo, the Tar Heels were back on in front 50-49 with 9:42 to play.
***Listen to the call by the Tar Heel Sports Network’s Jones Angell***
Britt took a hard foul in transition that left him relegated to the floor for a while before he hobbled off the court. Hubert stepped in to shoot his foul shots, but missed both.
McDonald stepped out of bounds to commit a turnover, and with 7:40 to play, the Tar Heels were clinging to a 50-49 lead.
McAdoo got to the line and missed an ugly two free throws to the groan of the crowd. Paige darted into the paint and calmly floated in a shot that gave UNC the 52-50 edge, but Notre Dame answered right back to tie the game at 52-52 with 5:19 remaining.
Britt fired in a shot that regained the lead for the Tar Heels. Atkins nailed a jumper for the Irish to retie the game and then take the lead with a runaway layup by Vasturia that earned the 56-54 lead for Notre Dame with 3:46 to play.
McAdoo went to foul line, but only made one of two. The Tar Heels trailed by a point. But he made up for it on the next possession with a contested shot that fell through the nets in transition to give UNC the lead at 57-56.
Johnson followed McAdoo’s lead with a score and a foul after a Notre Dame turnover, but he missed the free throw. UNC led by three.
Tokoto answered the bell again with a clutch make that ignited the crowd with 1:15 to play. Carolina had saved its best stuff for the close yet again, claiming a 61-56 lead with 1:15 to play.
Connaughton worked his way inside for a score and a foul. He calmly sank the point after to close the Irish to within two points with 40 seconds left.
Paige was fouled with 17 seconds remaining. He knocked down one of two. But the Irish scored quickly on the other end and fouled Paige again. He missed another free throw to leave the door open for the Irish, but time expired, giving Carolina the victory.
***Listen to the call***
Next up for the Tar Heels is a rematch with No. 4 Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium Saturday night.
Click here for the game photo gallery.
The North Carolina men’s basketball team has jumped up five spots to No. 14 in the latest AP poll released Monday.
Following a week featuring a pair of ACC road victories over N.C. State and Virginia Tech, 22-7 Carolina continues its climb up the national rankings.
The ACC is featured prominently in the rankings, with three schools in the top seven. 23-6 Duke checks in at No. 4 while ACC regular season champion Virginia closely follows at No. 5 with 26-3 Syracuse falling to No. 7.
27-2 Florida remains the nation’s top-ranked squad this week, but the Gators are closely trailed by undefeated Wichita State. The Shockers received 14 first-place votes.
Also of note, the North Carolina Central Eagles, sitting at 23-5 on the season with a win over N.C. State and a competitive loss to Wichita State, received one vote in the rankings for the second week in a row.
As for the women, the Tar Heels slid up a rung to No. 13 in the latest AP poll. At 22-8, Carolina has been riding the ups and downs this season with big-time wins, like Sunday’s against Duke, being met with head scratching losses.
As for the rest of the ACC, undefeated No. 2 Notre Dame trails only Connecticut in the national polls while 24-5 Maryland lands a spot at No. 8 while 25-5 Duke checks in at No. 10.
Click here for the complete men’s rankings.
Click here for the complete women’s rankings.http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/hoops-rankings-update-tar-heel-men-women-top-15-acc-schools-shining/