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Off the cuff: The loss to Duke continued to be on the Tar Heels' minds before, during and after their 70-52 victory over Virginia.

Tyler Zeller said he wanted to personally bounce back after his part in the Tar Heels' late-game demise Wednesday night.

Carolina held a 10-point lead against Duke with two and a half minutes to go. This time, Virginia cut a 15-foot deficit to 11 points with the same amount of time left.

In a Carolina huddle, one player said to remember what happened Wednesday night but Coach Williams said "no, let's play for today."

Reserve Stilman White, who spelled Kendall Marshall for eight minutes, said after the game that the Heels handled the end of game better this time and that the Tar Heels still believe that, despite the loss, it's obvious they are a better team than Duke.

It's natural that the team is still thinking about that game and maybe it helped them focus on doing the right things this time but the Heels have to put that Duke loss behind them.

Tar Heels 70, Virginia 52
UNC "rebounds" to win big over Virginia

North Carolina rebounded from a self-described "depressing" loss to Duke by controlling Virginia on the boards and winning 70-52 at home. (2/11) Click for a photo gallery.

The Tar Heels outrebounded the Cavaliers 52-32 including a 23-8 edge on the offensive boards.

UNC's Tyler Zeller, who had a rough couple of minutes at the end of the loss to Duke, had nine rebounds and 25 points. While he missed a couple of key free throws down the stretch against the Blue Devils, on this day he was 7 of 8 from the line.

"Wednesday was definitely brutal," said Zeller, who blamed himself for the Duke loss because of the missed free throws. "I was trying to bounce back today and play as well as possible."

UNC coach Roy Williams said it has taken Zeller a while to get past the Duke loss. "He's a very sensitive kid," Coach Williams said. "People were tough on him and very, very, very unfairly too. I couldn't be happier for what he did today."

Zeller had a big first half against Duke and a poorer second half. This time he scored 12 points in the first half and 13 in the second half for a complete effort.

The 18-point final margin was deceptive as Virginia held a 27-20 lead with five minutes left in the first half. But Zeller started a 15-5 run with four straight free throws and then ended the stretch with a tip-in during the last minute to give UNC a 35-32 halftime lead.

A pair of threes by Virginia's Joe Harris helped the Cavaliers to a 40-37 lead. But Zeller would have none of that. Zeller hit a baseline hook, a free throw, another hook, and blocked a shot as the Heels re-took the lead 42-41.

That explosion started an even bigger blast as Carolina went on a 22-5 to take total control of the game. The two key plays during that stretch were an over-the-head assist pass from John Henson to Zeller and a length-of-the-court assist pass from Kendall Marshall to Reggie Bullock.

While the game had been close, the Tar Heels held a double-digit lead over the last eight minutes of the game with the final margin being the largest of day.

Harrison Barnes, who only hit four of his 15 shots, sank all six of his free throw attempts and finished with 14 points and a career-high 11 rebounds. Henson was the only other Tar Heel in double figures as he had 10 points to go with his 10 rebounds.

The Tar Heels, now 21-4 overall and 8-2 in the ACC, play at Miami Wednesday night.


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