Iowa falls in exhibition tour as former Hawkeye Pierre Pierce buries game-winning shot

Former Iowa guard Pierre Pierce — kicked off the team eight years ago following a second sexual assault charge — buried the game-winning, buzzer-beating jumper against his former school as Pierce and Hyeres-Toulon Basket defeated the Hawkeyes 84-82 in overtime during Iowa’s exhibition tour in France.

The 30-year old Pierce is playing professionally in France for Hyeres-Toulon Basket and led all scorers in the contest with 19 points.

After the game, Pierce took to Twitter to express his emotions in beating his former school:

“Feels pretty good hitting my first game winner today lol wish the #Hawkeyes best of luck this season and safe travels back,’’ Pierce tweeted.

Pierce was first charged with sexual assault in 2002 following an incident with another Iowa athlete. As part of a plea deal that forced him to redshirt the 2002-03 season, Pierce was able to stay with the program.

Pierce returned to play 20 games in the 2004-05 season and was immediately dismissed from the program following his second charge of sexual assault.

That second charge led to Pierce serving 11 months in prison after the native of Westmont, IL was found guilty of third degree burglary, criminal trespass, false imprisonment and assault with intent to commit sexual abuse.

According to a report from the Quad City Times, Iowa was unaware they were facing Pierce before Monday’s game and the game was set-up by an outside agency.

“The opponents on this trip were scheduled by an outside agency with the task of getting competitive games,’’ Iowa sports information director Steve Roe said to the Quad City Times. “This team would have never been scheduled by a member of the university staff.’’

Pierce has been playing in professional leagues overseas since an Iowa court allowed him to do so when he signed with Hyeres-Toulon Basket. Pierce has also played professionally in Greece, Ukraine and the Republic of Georgia before returning to France to play for Hyeres-Toulon Basket last winter.

Marcus Paige, Joel Berry lead No. 9 North Carolina past No. 2 Maryland

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — He’s back.

For the first time this season — and for the first time in more than a year that he hasn’t been hampered with some kind of foot or ankle injury — Marcus Paige donned a North Carolina jersey, and it didn’t take him long to find the form that made him the Preseason National Player of the Year.

On the first Tar Heel possession, Paige came off of a ball-screen, drove the lane and found Kennedy Meeks at the rim for a layup. Not 30 seconds later, he came off of a down screen and buried a three. Paige would finish with 20 points and five assists as No. 9 North Carolina put together a fairly resounding win over No. 2 Maryland in the Dean Dome on Tuesday night, winning 89-81.

Paige finished 7-for-12 from the floor and 4-for-5 from beyond the arc, hitting a number of threes in the second half that helped hold off a Maryland push sparked by their own all-american point guard, Melo Trimble.

Trimble was erratic early on, committing three turnovers in the first six minutes and eight on the night, but it was his play at the end of the first half and early second half that kept North Carolina from blowing their doors. At one point, Maryland was down 32-19 and in danger of getting run out of Tobacco Road.

In total, Trimble finished with 23 points and 12 assists, hitting four big threes during that stretch. He either scored or assisted on 11 of Maryland’s first 12 second half field goals.

As good as Paige was, the bigger story may actually be Joel Berry II. He took two dumb threes in the first half — which played a role in Maryland being able to make this a game — and he missed a few free throws late, but overall he was terrific. He finished with 14 points and five assists, making 3-of-5 threes and turning the ball over just twice. He’s clearly beat Nate Britt out at the point guard spot, and his ability to take pressure off of Paige as a secondary ball-handler and playmaker is huge.

(More to come from Chapel Hill…)

VIDEO: Melo Trimble drops Nate Britt with a crossover

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North Carolina is hosting No. 2 Maryland in a heated contest in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Terps sophomore guard Melo Trimble is playing very well and part of his performance was dropping North Carolina’s Nate Britt with a crossover in the second half.

(H/T: The Cauldron)