Home Page banner.cb3cartoon.
Check back prior to the 2008 season for a preview and a program outlook.
Click here for Carolina baseball analysis.

Off the cuff: Both North Carolina and Rhode Island played hard but neither played well. Several minutes would go by without either team scoring a field goal because they'd turn it over or miss easy shots or something.

The Tar Heels survived a 11-4 run over a seven-minute period late in the first half and a 12-3 run over a four-minute span before the final TV timeout. With the three-point shot not being there for the Tar Heels and with their foul shooting being off, it's hard to imagine how Carolina won that game.

But they did rebound well and gutted out a victory. You have to feel good if you are a Carolina fan that the Heels reached 20 wins, however they got there.

Now, the Tar Heels have a chance to be one of only two teams in post-season play that will win their last game of the season.

By the way, regarding the final controversial play where Ulmer fell down as time ran out, if it were a foul on Graves, it was a very light one that should not have made him fall. Announcers went wild as if it was so obvious but even after slowing it down on replay, it's hard to tell how much contact there was.

But if people want to argue that it was a foul, fine. If you go back further, less than two minutes before the end of regulation, there was a foul called on John Henson that resulted in a free throw for Rhode Island. If you look at the tape and pause it, you'll see that the foul came well after what should have been a shot-clock violation on Rhode Island. That one point made the difference between overtime and Carolina winning by one in regulation.

As many tough breaks as Carolina has had this season, I don't really want to hear the complaints about the final play. Plus, the man was not in any position to get off a decent shot. It would have been a travesty if Carolina lost after Graves was called on such a close play that far away from the basket.


Carolina Football: Golden anniversary of a redeeming 50-0 victory over Duke.

Carolina Football: Excerpts from an article on the history of the Carolina-Duke rivalry.

Henson Barnes, nation's top high school player, signs letter of intent

Duke hurt most by decision


Tar Heels 68, Rhode Island 67 (OT)
UNC wins a wild one to advance to final

North Carolina came from five down with 90 seconds left in regulation to tie it and then took the lead for good in overtime on a three-point play by Tyler Zeller to defeat Rhode Island 68-67 and advance to the NIT final. (3/30)

In a close game throughout, Rhode Island held its biggest lead at 59-54 with less than two minutes to play. UNC's Larry Drew canned a fall-away jumper from 18 feet out with 1:28 to go to make it 59-56. Following a UNC steal off a two-man trap, Drew was fouled driving to the lane. He hit only one free throw however and Carolina still trailed 59-57 with 1:06 to go.

Following a missed Ram free throw in a one-and-one situation, Drew drove all the way for a tying bucket with less than a minute to go. Rhode Island's Delroy James drew a foul with :29 left but missed both free throws.

Carolina held the ball for a final shot but, much to the chagrin of Carolina coach Roy Williams, Drew pulled up on his drive to the basket to stop and shoot a long one that wasn't close.

In overtime, Will Graves, who fought foul trouble and a shooting drought, drilled a long three with 4:38 to go to put the Heels up 62-59. The Rams tied it at 63 on a fastbreak bucket by Keith Cothran, who led Rhode Island with 23 points. Then UNC's Marcus Ginyard had an unforced error and lost the ball, which resulted in a fastbreak layup by James that gave the Rams a 65-63 edge.

But Zeller banged one in off the backboard as he was being fouled. He also converted the free throw to put the Heels up 66-65. Following a Zeller block on the defensive end, Deon Thompson was fouled on the offensive end.

Carolina had a hard time from the line all night and was only six of 14 on the night as Thompson stepped to the line. "I told him to make the dadgum free throws," Coach Williams said. He did to make it 68-65. "Great coaching huh?" Williams added.

Rhode Island pulled to within a point with two minutes to go. But the Rams missed a three-point shot and Thompson missed an easy tip for Carolina. The ball went out of bounds and it was awarded to the Heels.

With about six seconds difference between the shot clock and the game clock, UNC elected to hold it. Drew got off a shot with about seven seconds left but it bounded away. Rhode Island's Lamonte Ulmer got the rebound and dribbled out with about three seconds left but he tripped during a scramble for the ball and time ran out.

Rhode Island argued that Graves tripped him but replays seem to show that, while there may have been slight incidental contact, Ulmer tripped over his own feet. Despite that, Coach Williams said, "Something probably should have been called there at the end. We should not have been that close to him. You don't foul 60 feet away from the basket."

It was a sloppy game for both teams as Carolina turned the ball over 17 times and Rhode Island coughed it up 18 times plus neither team could shoot the ball - Carolina shooting 35 percent and Rhode Island shooting 37 percent. The Heels came down with an amazing - and season high - 60 rebounds compared to 45 for the Rams.

Thompson led the way with 16 points and 13 rebounds while Graves scored 14 and Zeller added 12.

The Tar Heels, now 20-16, play for the NIT championship Thursday night against Dayton.

Photo Gallery


Check out the other game articles.
Read my Tar Heels' season preview on by clicking here.

© 2009 CB3media Cary, NC