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: Luke Maye is deservedly getting most of the attention following UNC's dramatic win over Kentucky. But, if it weren't for Joel Berry playing through pain, the Heels would be done.

Early in the game, Berry rolled his left ankle after Kentucky's De'Aaron Fox slapped his leg as he was driving - something that wasn't called a foul. He went to the bench and then the lockerroom to be attended to by the trainer.

He was already hampered by a right ankle sprain that he re-injured in practice - something that was new information following the win.

While missing all five of his three attempts - UNC coach Roy Williams said he was having trouble pushing off his foot - Berry scored 11 points, mostly due to driving to the basket. He also had three assists and two steals while leading the Tar Heels during his 33 minutes on the court.

It was truly a team effort as Kennedy Meeks hauled in a career-high 17 points. Theo Pinson, who had a rough patch where he turned the ball over three times in a short period of time, came through with six points down the stretch, including four straight free throws.

Justin Jackson led the team with 19 points but he missed four of his five three-point attempts and missed the front end of a one-and-one that allowed Kentucky to tie it before Maye's heroics.

During Berry's injury time, senior Stilman White came in for five minutes and he drove to the hoop for a basket that gave Carolina a five-point cushion in the first half.

Carolina led by as many as nine (in the first half) and trailed by as many as five (in the second half).

With seven minutes left in the game, the Tar Heels had led all but 18 seconds of game action.

Kentucky's Isaac Humphries, who had never scored in double figures, scored eight points in three minutes - finishing with 12 - to help the Wildcats to that 64-59 lead.

UNC coach Roy Williams said he reminded the team of what they had done by coming back to beat Arkansas earlier in the tournament. He said, "You've shown you can do this."

The Tar Heels responded with a 12-0 run, just like they had done against the Razorbacks.

Still, it took the big shot by Maye at the end. "It's a great feeling that my teammates and my coach put me in that situation," he said.

Every once in a while I like to mention forgotten plays earlier in games - particularly bad calls by officials - that could make a difference. Yes, there are bad calls both ways, and yes, the calls usual even out. Kentucky fans - and the coach - felt the Wildcats got the short end of the stick from officials.

Coach John Calipari made a crack in his post-game press conference that it was amazing his team had a chance at the end after they'd just about fouled out his team.

There were touch fouls both ways. But those are opinion calls.

There was a goal tend against Kentucky that was controversial. While the ball wasn't going to go in, it still was partially within the rim. Technically, I suppose it was a correct call but most officials, seeing that it was going to fall off the rim, probably would not have called it.

There were several calls that were just wrong.

With 8:38 left in the first half, and neither TV nor radio mentioned this but you can go back on your DVR to see, Berry knocked the ball off Edrice Adebayo's leg out of bounds but the official gave it back to the Wildcats.

Frustratingly, just 14 seconds later, Kennedy Meeks blocked a shot and it seemed to go out of bounds off Adebayo but the same official once again gave it back to the Wildcats.

(By the way, Adebayo was born in Washington, NC and is a native of Pinetown, NC.)

In the last minute of the game, the official called a five-second inbounds violation on Meeks who was running the baseline trying to get it in. Use your stopwatch, it was four seconds. Still, you have timeouts to burn so Meeks should have called a timeout before relying on an official to wave his hand in time correctly.

If the Tar Heels play with poise, cut down on the turnovers and hit a better percentage of free throws, they won't have to worry about officials' calls in the Final Four.

Tar Heels 75, Kentucky 73
Maye enters UNC lore with late heroics

North Carolina's Luke Maye went long stretches without playing much this season. But the Tar Heels needed the sophomore to keep the season going. (3/26)

Maye swished a 19-footer in the last second to give the Heels a 75-73 victory over Kentucky to advance to the Final Four for the second year in a row.

Maye, the South Region's Most Outstanding Player, hit the game winner after Kentucky had hit three three-pointers in the last 47 seconds to tie the game at 73.

Malik Monk, who lit up the Heels for 47 in the regular season, hit a three from the top of the key with seven seconds left. The Heels got the ball in quickly and Theo Pinson raced down the court. Pinson penetrated the lane and then dropped it back to Maye who banged it in.

"I just wanted to shoot it like I do everyday in practice," Maye said on the court before the Tar Heels clipped down the nets.

Kennedy Meeks, who had a career-high 17 rebounds, said he wasn't surprised by Maye's shot and tournament performance. "He shoots it like that all the time in practice," he said. "Luke stepped up big time to help us get this win."

Teammate Justin Jackson, who led the Heels with 19 points, said that Maye's success shows that "with hard work you can be a great player."

As against Arkansas earlier in the NCAA Tournament, North Carolina was down in the late stages and went on a run.

Trailing 64-59 with five minutes to go after leading most of the game, Carolina went on a 12-0 run to take a 71-64 lead with less than a minute to go.

Pinson started the scoring with a runner to cut the deficit to 64-61. Following a defensive stop, after Kentucky had scored on 12 straight possessions to take the five-point lead, Jackson hit a 12 footer to cut it to 64-63 with 3:46 left.

A Meeks block on the other end led to a Pinson run out. He was fouled and after a TV timeout, he hit two free throws to give Carolina the lead at 65-64 with 3:22 to go.

After yet another defensive stop, Maye was fouled and he hit both ends of a one-and-one situation to put the Heels up 67-64 with 2:41 left.

Kentucky missed a three and Maye got the rebound. The Heels ran the shot clock down and Joel Berry, playing on two bad ankles, drove and scored high off the backboard to put Carolina up 69-64 with 1:45 to go.

A Monk miss led to a Kentucky foul on Pinson, who got the rebound. Pinson hit both ends of a one-and-one to give the Heels a commanding 71-64 lead with 53.5 seconds left.

That's when Kentucky went on the three-point barrage outscoring the Heels 9-2 to tie it before Maye hit the winner.

With less than a second left, Kentucky threw the ball all the way down the court out of bounds. UNC threw the ball in and the game ended and the celebration began.

Maye scored a career-high 17 after scoring a career-high 16 in the previous game.

The Tar Heels outshot Kentucky, 46 to 42 percent, and outrebounded the Wildcats, 44 to 34. Despite the threes at the end, Carolina held De'Aaron Fox to five of 14 from the floor and held Monk to just four of 10.

Carolina, now 31-7, plays Oregon Saturday night for the right to play for the national title.

Box Score

Maye winner.
(UNC Sports Information photo by J.D. Lyon Jr./@tarheel_photo)

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

© 2017 CB3media Cary, NC