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: While the Tar Heels were able to hit 11 three-pointers, there will probably come a time against a better team than Villanova where the Heels are going to have to do even better from beyond than that. Or, they're going to have to figure out how to keep the opponent off the offensive boards.

Coach Williams is right that Villanova was competing harder on the boards, especially during a stretch when they cut the lead from 20 down to eight at the half.

The Tar Heels generally play with a smaller lineup now but you've got to box out and make bigger guys come over your back - in other words foul.

Villanova was taller but not significantly so - it was the muscle, the strength inside that made that a close game. Because if the Heels can hit 11 of 21 threes, they should win.

This game shows that Carolina can be resilient but the Heels have to keep hitting the threes to advance in the NCAA Tournament.

Tar Heels 78, Villanova 71
Small Heels live by 3 down stretch

North Carolina blew a 20-point first-half lead to a more physical, bigger Villanova team, even falling behind in the second half, but the Tar Heels hit some key threes down the stretch to hold off the Wildcats 78-71. (3/22)

The win moves the Heels to the next round of the NCAA Tournament Sunday.

"We made some big shots with the game on the line," UNC coach Roy Williams said. It was Williams' 700th coaching victory.

Villanova took a 45-44 lead with just under 14 minutes to play but Carolina's Reggie Bullock drained a three from the left corner to put the Heels up 47-45. While the game stayed close, that was actually the last lead change of the game.

Back-to-back three-pointers by Bullock and P.J. Hairston seemingly put the Heels in control of the game at 63-54 with just over five minutes left.

But, a 12-4 run, during which the Wildcats got numerous second chances on offense and a pair of three, cut the lead to just one at 67-66 with 2:14 left.

The Tar Heels were then able to break Villanova's aggressive press and Marcus Paige found himself open for a three, which he took and swished with just over two minutes left to make it 70-66.

Hairston wrapped it up with 42 seconds left when he went in for a bucket on a fastbreak and was fouled hard. He hit the free throw to give the Heels an eight-point cushion, 76-68.

Carolina, now 25-10, hit 11 of 21 three-point shots while Villanova hit only 4 of 21. The Wildcats were able to stay in the game with a 35-23 rebounding edge including 14 offensive rebounds. As a result, Villanova took 12 more shots than Carolina.

In addition, the Heels turned the ball over 17 times whereas they only turned it over 23 times in their last three games combined.

"There were a few moments we were really ugly," Williams said adding that Villanova was competing harder for a while. "I was proud of the way our team answered that."

Williams gave some playing time to big guys Jackson Simmons and Desmond Hubert to offset Villanova's size advantage. While it was the small lineup that propeled Carolina late in the season, it was hurting the Heels for a while against the Wildcats.

Williams said he left Bullock and Hairston in because he knew the Heels were going to need some offense down the stretch.

Hairston led the way with 23 points, including five of eight from beyond the arc while Bullock scored 15, including three of six from deep.

James Michael McAdoo finished with 17 points while Paige had 14.


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

© 2012 CB3media Cary, NC