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Off the cuff: Iona came out with a little cockiness - throwing up deep threes, showing a lot of emotion, acting a bit like jerks. (That coach seems to have discipline problems with a couple of the players.)

But it was working for them as they couldn't seem to miss. Their first 15 points all came on threes. At one stretch, the Gaels hit eight of nine shots (four of which were threes) to work the lead up to 35-27.

UNC coach Roy Williams admitted that the players might have gotten a little tight as Iona worked up the lead. But he wanted them to stop worrying about the score and get lost in the game playing Carolina basketball.

They did that in the second half. Cam Johnson, who was cold in the first half, heated up. Luke Maye and Garrison Brooks stopped being so hesitant inside and went to the hoop.

The player who most took the ball to the rim, however, was Nassir Little. He came on in the first half and scored six points in less than five minutes to keep Carolina in the game. He finished with 19 points in just 17 minutes.

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Everyone knew Carolina's 13-point lead with six minutes left in the half wouldn't last but it really hurt that Duke was able to tie it at the half.

Goldwire's defense and Williamson's offense hurt the Heels during that stretch. But cold shooting and unnecessarily quick shots by Carolina aided the cause.

Duke made four straight threes to tie it before the half.

I thought it was important for Carolina to have some kind of lead going into half after being in command earlier. While there was a lot of game left, I thought Coby White missing the front end of a one-and-one situation late in the first half was a big deal.

Carolina also hurt its cause by scoring just one field goal in the first seven minutes of the second half and then late in the game the Heels went six straight one-and-done possessions.

That stretch coincided with the same period that Garrison Brooks picked up his third and fourth foul in a 10 second period.

Another key moment came with 5:32 left when White scored on a drive for Carolina but it was waved off for a charge. That would have tied the game.

"It was a game we could have won - it was a game we should have won," Cam Johnson said. "We have to get refocused and get ready for what's next."

Many of us old-school ACC fans will miss the Raycom broadcasts as the conference transitions to an ESPN contract. But if the cameras switched away one more time to show coaches or the crowd while the ball was in play, I was going to petition for Raycom to go ahead and stop broadcasting early.

Sail with the Pilot.

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Archives

Click here to go to the football page.
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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.

 

Carolina's big second half buries Iona
North Carolina survived a barrage of three pointers in the first half by quickly erasing a halftime deficit and easing to a 88-73 victory over Iona in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. (3/22)

The Tar Heels, the No. 1 seed in the Midwest Region, fell behind by eight points in the first half as Iona drained 10 of 21 threes.

"They controlled the clock and shot threes (in the first half)," UNC coach Roy Williams said. "And we didn't shoot very well."

All that changed in the second half as Coach Williams said his team turned it around by playing with more passion and getting lost in the game rather than worrying about the score.

"We guarded them a lot better," he said. "Didn't give them the wide open three."

Down 38-33 at the break, the Tar Heel players said Coach Williams was loud and clear that they were not playing Carolina basketball.

"Their hitting threes took us out of transition opportunities in the first half," UNC's Cam Johnson said. "We tied it up pretty quick in the second half and that gave us some momentum."

A set play to give Johnson a good look opened the second half as he popped in a three. Less than 30 seconds later, Luke Maye tied the game at 38-all.

After Maye looped a pass to Johnson to give the Heels a 42-41 lead with 17:58 to go, Carolina never trailed again.

A 16-4 run put the Heels up 58-45 and they keep the advantage in double figures the rest of the way, working the lead up to 74-54 after Kenny Williams got loose for a three.

Carolina was banking that Iona would cool down from beyond the arc and the Gaels did going just five of 20 in the second half.

After a woeful shooting first half, the Heels shot 64 percent from the floor and kept piling up the rebounds, finishing with a 52-26 advantage.

Five Tar Heels finished in double figures with Johnson leading the way with 21 points, 16 of which came in the second half.

Nassir Little gave Carolina a lift off the bench with 19 points in only 17 minutes. Maye finished with 16 points while Garrison Brooks and Coby White finished with 10 a piece.

The Tar Heels improve to 28-6 and advance to play Washington Sunday afternoon.

Box score


UNC's Nassir Little helped keep Carolina in the game by going hard to the hoop. (UNC Sports Information photo.)

Tar Heels come up short against Zion
Well, Zion Williamson did make a difference, just barely. In a back-and-forth contest, North Carolina came up short as Williamson tipped in his own miss with just 30 seconds left and Duke hung on to defeat the Tar Heels 74-73 in the ACC Tournament semi-finals. (3/15)

UNC coach Roy Williams said Williamson put on his Superman jersey to help lead the Devils over the Heels. When Williamson could get the ball down low, he was unstoppable as the freshman finished with 31 points and 11 rebounds.

But this is Carolina-Duke, not just Carolina-Zion and the Tar Heels led the Devils 71-67 after Luke Maye drove by Williamson, scored and was fouled, completing the three-point play with 2:46 left.

But then Williamson spun down low, scored and drew UNC's Garrison Brooks' fifth foul. After the free throw, Duke got within one at 71-70.

The Heels failed to score but seemed to have it back when the ball slipped through Maye's legs right into the hands of Duke's Jordan Goldwire under the basket who put it in for a 72-71 Devils lead.

"He came up with a huge bucket - I don't know how he got it," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said.

Neither team scored on their next possessions but UNC's Nassir Little picked up a loose ball and dunked it through with 50 seconds left to give Carolina a 73-72 lead.

That's when Williamson scored on his own miss to give Duke the lead for good. But Carolina had its chances. UNC's Cam Johnson, who was hot early on, missed a three from the left wing on a shot that looked like it was going to go through with 13 seconds left.

After R.J. Barrett missed a pair of free throws for Duke, Carolina had a chance at the end. Coby White couldn't find a route to the basket so he heaved up a long two while slipping. Nonetheless it almost went in with a couple of seconds left. Little had a chance at a tip but it wasn't close and Duke had won, avoiding a third loss to the Tar Heels this season.

"They (Duke) did a good job defensively and we didn't have a chance to attack the basket," Coach Williams said.

Johnson said "a couple of little plays made the difference. Our guys fought hard but we could have played better."

In fact, the Tar Heels were probably lucky to be in it after hitting only four of 27 three-point shots.

"If you go four for 27 from three, you deserve to get beat," Coach Williams said, adding that you can't rely on the jumpshot. He said the Tar Heels took bad and quick shots in the first half. "You'd have thought there was a three-second shot clock," he said.

Carolina had built a 13-point lead in the first half at 33-20, mostly behind the hot hand of Johnson, who had 16 first-half points. But Duke got some stops defensively and Williamson started to take over.

Duke went on a 24-11 run at the end of the first half to tie it 44-all going into the break.

Carolina managed just one field goal in the first seven minutes of the second half to fall behind by six at 52-46. But the Heels came up with three steals and buckets in a row to tie it and force a Duke timeout.

It went back and forth the rest of the way, ending with that final flurry over the last three minutes.

"Our season is not over," Coach Williams said. "We didn't play well enough to win."

For his part, Coach K said it was "vintage ACC Duke-Carolina" and that both teams played hard and well, particularly on defense in the second half.

Both teams went multiple minutes without scoring in the second half.

Joining Williamson in double figures for Duke were Barrett, who had 14 points, and Tre Jones, who had 11. Johnson led the Tar Heels with 23, but went cold in the second half. Maye had yet another double-double as he scored 14 points and hauled in a game-high 13 rebounds. White scored 11 but missed all six of his three-point attempts.

The Tar Heels fall to 27-6 and await its NCAA Tournament bid while Duke, now 28-5, play Florida State for the ACC Tournament crown. .

Box score


UNC's Luke Maye drives on Duke's Zion Williamson, who reaches in.
(UNC Sports Information photo.)

2018-19 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.