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Off the cuff: If ESPN can't get their technical issues solved quicker than that, they should allow the ACC Network to also air ACC games separately to local audiences.

Carolina shot well in the first half and probably should have been up by 12 at the half - were it not for a buzzer-beater three after a Kenny Williams block that unfortunately went out of bounds with two seconds left.

The Tar Heels couldn't do much with a hot Tyus Battle in the second half, especially during a five or six minute period when he scored 11 points. A 10-point Carolina lead midway through the second half evaporated by the three-minute mark.

But a W is a W and sometimes it's better to learn how to deal with adversity and win close games than to blow people out. Still, it would be nice for Carolina to put away teams when they can.

Seniors Theo Pinson and Joel Berry are ending their Carolina careers on a high note - so far. Pinson scored a career-high 23 points against Syracuse and was an assist master in the first half. His best assist may have come in the second half however when he passed behind his head to Sterling Manley for a bucket that gave UNC a 58-50 lead.

Berry scored the last four points when the game was on the line. His steal and coast-to-coast contest layup with 1:36 left was the play of the game. The Tar Heels had nine steals on the night on defense to go along with 25 assists on offense.

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With the three-point shot in play, you're never really comfortable with a lead but Carolina seemed to have the game against Louisville in control most of the way. And when it got close, the Heels used the three themselves to create distance.

Carolina had five more threes and eight more twos than Louisville. The only thing that made it somewhat within reach for the Cardinals was the disparity at the foul line, where Carolina shot only 10 times, canning nine, while Louisville went 22 times but only managed 13 free throws.

Perhaps there were a couple of bad calls against Carolina or non-calls against Louisville but the home team was taking the Heels to the hoop quite a bit drawing fouls.

While Joel Berry did his share of that, Louisville was probably more aggressive offensively. But when you can drain a shot that counts three points, why drive in trying for two and having to earn them both from the foul line?

UNC coach Roy Williams still wasn't satisfied with the defense, especially giving up some open threes, but he said he hasn't been happy with it all season.

Coach Williams did say that a block by Berry on what appeared to be a certain dunk that would have brought the lead down to five was "big time."

While praising Berry and Maye, he may have paid the biggest compliment to Theo Pinson saying that the senior was the best playmaker on the team. I think I would like the ball in Berry's hands to make the big play but it's hard to argue with the fact that a lot of good things have been happening lately when Pinson gets his hands on the ball.

Against Louisville, Pinson scored 19 points, hauled in seven rebounds, dished out five assists and picked up a couple of steals - and he went six of six from the foul line.

A lot of players on this team can be playmakers.

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Archives

Click here to go to the football page.
Click here to keep up with the 2008 run to the World Series.

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.

 

Tar Heels 78, Syracuse 74
Berry, Heels hold off Syracuse for 6 straight
UNC's Joel Berry came up with a steal and went coast to coast for a layup to break a tie and then sealed the 78-74 victory at Syracuse with a pair of free throws. (2/21)

After having the lead for almost the entire game, Syracuse tied North Carolina with three minutes to go but the Tar Heels held the Orange scoreless the rest of the way with Berry providing the heroics.

Berry had a chance to give Carolina the lead earlier on a set play but missed an open 3.

"We answered some runs pretty good," UNC coach Roy Williams said. "Joel missed that three so I told him 'how about make these free throws and let's get out of town.'"

The Tar Heels, who led by 12 on several occasions in the first half, seemingly had the game under control after Theo Pinson, who had a career night, hit a three on the right side to put Carolina up 74-66 with less than five minutes left.

But Syracuse went on an 8-0 run, fueled by Tyus Battle's six points, to tie it at 74 all setting up the exciting ending.

"We made some dumb plays late," Coach Williams said. "We've got to take better care of the basketball and not take bad shots."

Williams did say that overall the Tar Heels generally played well and shot the ball well in the first half, taking a 41-32 lead at the break.

Pinson had six assists in the first half. While he only dished out one assist in the second half, his offense took over as he scored 14 and ended the game with a career-high 23 points.

Berry added 18 and Sterling Manley, off the bench, chipped in 12 as the only other Tar Heels in double figures.

Carolina, now 22-7 and 11-5 in the Atlantic Coast Conference, has won six straight while Syracuse, which is fighting for an NCAA Tournament bid, fell to 18-10 overall and 7-8 in the league.

The Tar Heels get five days off before they host Miami Tuesday night on senior night where they'll say goodbye to Theo Pinson and Joel Berry.

Box Score


Sterling Manley goes up strong inside. (UNC Sports Information Photo, JD Lyon Jr.)

Tar Heels 93, Louisville 76
Balanced Heels win impressively at Louisville
Five was the lucky number for North Carolina at Louisville Saturday night. The Tar Heels' impressive 93-76 win at Louisville was the first time Carolina has won at Louisville in five attempts. It was UNC's fifth straight victory, and all five starters scored in double figures. (2/17)

The Tar Heels raced out to a 13-point lead in the first six minutes of the game after Cam Johnson stroked a three to make it 19-6. Carolina went on to lead by as many as 19 after Joel Berry hit one of his five three pointers on the night from the left win to put the Heels up 40-21 with seven minutes left in the half.

"We got out to a great start, shot the ball early," UNC coach Roy Williams said.

But Louisville used a 19-9 run of its own to cut the halftime margin to nine at 49-40. But a quick 8-2 run at the start of the second half, highlighted by back-to-back buckets by Kenny Williams, put the Heels back in control at 57-42 and set the tone for the second half.

Again Louisville fought back, cutting the lead to seven at 57-50 with a little more than 14 minutes left. But Berry got open for a three in the left corner to help snuff out that rally.

Carolina worked the lead back up to 14, thanks in part to a couple of aggressive buckets by freshman big man Sterling Manley. Yet again Louisville, behind Deng Adel (who scored 20) and Ray Spalding (who finished with 18), cut the lead to seven with less than four minutes to go.

That's when Luke Maye, who was AWOL for most of the first half, popped in a three at the tail end of the shot clock to put Carolina back up by 10 at 83-73. That started a game-ending 13-3 UNC run.

"Luke hit a really big shot at the end of the shot clock," said Coach Williams, who said Maye stunk it up the first half but started scoring as a result of six offensive rebounds in the second half. "He has a nose for the basketball."

Five Tar Heels scored in double figures with Berry leading the way with 23, followed closely by Maye and Theo Pinson who tallied 19 each. Johnson added 12 and Williams chipped in 11.

"It's hard to guard a team when all five guys can score," Coach Williams said, adding that his squad held a 22-6 advantage in second-chance points. "All in all, we played really well."

Carolina shot 48.6 percent from the floor, hitting 12 of 27 three pointers. They sank nine of 10 free throws and outrebounded Louisville 44-32.

The Tar Heels, who play at Syracuse Wednesday night, improve to 21-7 and 10-5 in the ACC while Louisville falls to 18-9 and 8-6 in the league. The wins puts Carolina solidly in the top four in the conference, who would get a double bye in the ACC Tournament.

Box Score


Pinson dishes the ball off through defenders. (UNC Sports Information Photo, JD Lyon Jr.)

2017-18 UNC Season Preview

Read about any UNC basketball game since 2007-2008
Other old archived headlines:
2012-2013 UNC basketball season preview
2010-2011 season began with Late Nite with Roy

ESPN blows it - What were they thinking?
Read about UNC's 2010 football bowl win
Readers weighed in on Tar Heels' 2009-2010 troubles
Shorthanded Heels get big game from freshmen in opener
Season Review: UNC baseball had one of its best years in 2008
Carolina basketball's run ends after comeback falls short
Tar Heels run out of gas against Fresno State
Season Review: Carolina ends season where it wanted - in Omaha

Flack does it in the clutch again as Tar Heels fight on
Federowicz heroics keep UNC alive in College World Series
Carolina in the College World Series again
UNC is one win away from third straight trip to the World Series

Carolina baseball advances to host Super Regional starting Saturday
Heels defeats UNC-Wilmington 7-3 with five-run inning
UNC's wins over Miami vault Heels to No. 1 in the nation
Carolina baseball reaches 40-game win mark
Tar Heels take two of three from Florida State

Also, check out my articles for the UNC alumni Web site on Carolina's 8-4 win over LSU, the 5-3 loss to Fresno State, the 7-3 win over LSU, the 4-3 victory over Fresno State and the season-ending loss to Fresno State.

© 2018 CB3media Cary, NC

Barnes

Heel Prints reviewed each UNC game
As a student sports editor years ago, prior to the season, Clifton Barnes predicted a national championship for the Tar Heels and indeed they won. In fact he wrote his lede paragraph for the national championship game almost a year early. He regrets that he didn't keep a journal after each game. He kept a journal after each game of the 2007-2008 season and you can reach them here. At the request of readers, he has kept up his journal of each game ever since. He also has written about UNC baseball and wrote an analysis after each 2008 UNC football game.

 

Editor's Note: HeelPrints chronicled the UNC basketball, baseball and football seasons for 2008 and 2009. Since the vast majority of comments I get about the site relate to basketball and since this isn't a paying job for me, I decided to limit my coverage and analysis to basketball. Baseball and football will remain archived and if I have comments or opinions I want to make on those or any other sports at UNC, I will make them here on the front page and then archive them in the corresponding sports section. Thanks for all the positive comments I have received about the site. Should I get sponsorship in the future, I will reconsider adding baseball and football again. Ironically, my favorite sports to watch in person are baseball and football. But my first connections to UNC came from watching Dean Smith's basketball teams on TV or listening to them on the radio in the days before all the games were televised. It should come as no surprise that people pay more attention to the basketball coverage. Thanks for your interest in this site.