North Carolina bounces back, beats No. 20 UNLV at home

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With a more concerted defensive effort and double-figure scoring from five players, North Carolina upset No. 20 UNLV, 79-73, on Saturday afternoon at the Smith Center in Chapel Hill, N.C.

UNLV trailed by nine points at halftime, but worked back to pull even by the middle of the second half. A scoring drought late in the half gave North Carolina a chance to shut the door for good, but it was unable to do so.

That allowed the Rebels to pull within four points with under a minute to play before North Carolina sealed the game from the free throw line.

Without junior Reggie Bullock due to concussion, North Carolina was without one of its better perimeter defenders, but it didn’t seem to hurt the Tar Heels’ level of defensive pressure in the first half.

North Carolina forced 10 turnovers in the first 17 minutes.

Dribble penetration, which was nearly absent in the first half, was the engine of production in the second for the Rebels. Anthony Marshall, Bryce Dejean-Jones, and Anthony Bennett all worked to get to the basket, which opened up opportunities on the perimeter and scoring chances at the rim.

UNLV ripped off a 10-2 run to tie the game at 46 with 14:29 remaining.

North Carolina forward James Michael McAdoo was quiet in the first half, but went on his own personal 6-0 run to extend the Tar Heel lead to five.

With the game within one point, 64-63, the UNLV comeback bid was stopped by a cold streak from the floor.

After a Khem Birch layup with 7:33 to go, the Rebels did not score another field goal until the 2:16 mark. Added to that, UNLV struggled from the line, shooting just 11-of-21 on the game.

The offensive balance was important to North Carolina Saturday, with P.J Hairston, Marcus Paige, Dexter Strickland, Brice Johnson, and McAdoo scoring in double figures.

McAdoo finished with 13 points and nine rebounds. Strickland led all scorers with 16 points on 5-of-8 shooting from the floor.

The Tar Heels shot 51 percent from the floor on the afternoon.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

VIDEO: Zion Williamson vs. LaMelo Ball highlights

Photo by Josh Lefkowitz/Getty Images
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It was the most anticipated matchup of the summer.

Zion Williamson vs. LaMelo Ball.

People were turned away at the door – and LeBron James reportedly came and went – as the gym reached capacity for SC Supreme’s 104-92 victory over the Big Ballers. That’s Williamson over Ball (LaMelo and LaVar).

The game was mostly spectacle, and you can see it’s top moments right here.

 

VIDEO: Zion Williamson’s coach is holding a sleeping baby

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LaMelo Ball vs. Zion Williamson was insane, but it wasn’t quite crazy enough to wake up the sleeping toddler that Williamson’s coach is holding in his arms:

This is peak AAU basketball.

It will never be more AAU than that.

PHOTOS: Zion Williamson, LaMelo Ball showdown was, of course, insane

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In a showcase game in the adidas Uprising event in Las Vegas on Wednesday night, LaMelo Ball — the youngest member of the Big Baller Brand — faced off with Zion Williamson, who is a force on youtube and a highlight machine.

The crowd was insane for the game:

According to a report from ESPN, there were even concerns about whether or not the game would actually be allowed to be played; the police and fire marshall considered shutting the event down.

Williamson, of course, put on a show in warmups:

At the time of this posting, there were more than 60,000 people watching a livestream of the game on BallIsLife’s facebook page:

(UPDATE: It’s now over 70,000)

Puerto Rico Tip Off bracket revealed

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The bracket of the 2017 Puerto Rico Tip off was revealed Wednesday, setting up a showdown between a 2016 Final Four participant and the 2016 Big 12 tournament champion.

South Carolina and Iowa State headline the event, which will be played Nov. 16-19, in Fajardo, Puerto Rico.

The Gamecocks are on the top half of the bracket, opening against Illinois State while the Cyclones are on the bottom half, squaring off against Appalachian State.

Boise State vs. UTEP is the other top-half quarterfinal while Tulsa vs. Western Michigan is the other.

The championship game of the Puerto Rico Tip Off on Sunday, Nov. 19.

VIDEO: Michigan State’s Miles Bridges is dunking again

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Just what you wanted to see, a video of former Michigan State star Denzel Valentine throwing an alley-oop off the glass to current Michigan State star Miles Bridges in a Pro-Am in Michigan: