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Off the cuff:

Tar Heels 70, Louisville 60
Heels "man up" to advance by Louisville

19th ranked North Carolina trailed by 10 during the first half and by five at the half before deciding to "man up" in the second half, resulting in a 70-60 ACC Tournament quarterfinal victory over 14th ranked Louisville to advance to Friday's semi-finals against top-ranked Virginia. (3/12)

UNC's Brice Johnson scored 18 of his 22 points in the second half while the Carolina defense held Louisville to 22 percent from the floor in the second half.

"I decided to man up and play in the second half," said Johnson, adding that the team wanted to give it their all after losing a lead to Louisville at their place earlier this season.

Carolina coach Roy Williams shed his jacket and angrily called a timeout in the first half because, he said, he didn't feel as if his team was hustling as much as it should and his players were making silly turnovers.

He told the team that he felt lucky to be down by just five at the half.

"We got off to a good start in the second half," Coach Williams said. "We played a lot of zone in the second half and they missed some shots in the second half that they normally make."

He added that he agreed with Johnson that the players "manned up" and decided to play better in the second half.

Williams even got more out of Kennedy Meeks, who missed the first game of the tournament with an illness, than he thought he'd get. Meeks looked shaky in first half but during crunch time in the second half, he came through.

Meeks scored to give Carolina a 56-55 lead with 8:10 left in the game. Less than four minutes later, he powered up for one bucket and followed it with an offensive rebound put back to give the Heels their largest lead to that point at 64-57 with 3:48 to go. He followed that up with a block on the defensive end, allowing Carolina to run the shot clock down.

The Tar Heels wrapped up the victory by going 6 of 6 at the line over the last 49 seconds.

Joel Berry kept Carolina in it during the first half with all eight of his points coming in less than a two-minute period where he drained a pair of threes.

But it was the second half where the Tar Heels excelled.

Marcus Paige, who hit threes to start the game and the second half on the way to 13 points, said the Tar Heels are playing with more poise. "We did not rush as much and we are taking better shots," he said.

He added that the Tar Heels will have to be extremely disciplined in order to beat top-seeded Virginia Friday.

The Tar Heels, now 23-10, play at 7 p.m. Friday against the Cavaliers while Louisville, who were led by Terry Rozier's 20 points and Wayne Blackshear's 18 points, waits for its invitation to the NCAA Tournament.


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