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VIDEO: Berry lifts No. 20 North Carolina past Notre Dame as Gibbs’ winner spins out

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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — Roy Williams wasn’t concerned about style points after No. 20 North Carolina beat Notre Dame for its first Atlantic Coast Conference road victory of the season.

“I feel the luckiest I’ve ever felt after the last minute of a basketball game,” Williams said after the 69-68 victory Saturday night. “Joel Berry gets fouled and makes two free throws when you’re down one. My frustration button is at a very high level right now.”

Berry II, saddled with three fouls in the first half, made two free throws with 7.1 seconds left for the winning points. But the Tar Heels (14-4, 3-2) allowed Notre Dame sophomore point guard T.J. Gibbs to dribble the length of the floor, get off a shot, rebound the miss and send the ball inside the cylinder before it, too, spun out at the buzzer.

Berry finished with 15 points, and Luke Maye had his 10th double-double of the season with 18 points and 11 rebounds. Theo Pinson added 13 points, and North Carolina finished with a 9-2 run while holding the Irish (13-5, 3-2 without a field goal in the last 5:58.

Gibbs, who scored both of those points for Notre Dame on free throws with 37 seconds remaining for a brief 68-67 lead, finished with a game-high 19 points and six assists for Notre Dame, which got 14 points from senior Martinas Geben and a career-high 12 points from sophomore reserve Nikola Djogo.

“Man, I feel for our guys – we battled so hard,” Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said. “It’s a tough one to swallow because you feel like you’re going to get it.”

The Irish, playing without injured starters Bonzie Colson and Matt Farrell, used an eight-man rotation that frustrated Williams’ Tar Heels, who shot just 42.6 percent (26 of 61) and were outrebounded 45-37 by the Irish. Geben’s nine included seven off the offensive boards. Notre Dame shot just 34.8 percent (23 of 66) from the field but stayed in it with timely 3-pointers (10 of 24) that included the first ever of the 6-foot-10 Geben’s career.

“I thought they played harder than us, they played smarter than us,” Williams said. “Even on the last play, we did a good job defending the shot but we didn’t box him (Gibbs) out. I told Michael (Brey) I was so proud of his team.”

The game was close right from the opening tip, with neither team able to pull away by more than six points. There were 24 lead changes and the game was tied 12 times.

The Tar Heels led 40-37 at halftime during which Notre Dame endured a stretch of 6:54 without a field goal. Maye came up one rebound short of a double-double with 13 points and 9 rebounds, while Berry had nine points, all from beyond the arc before drawing his third personal in the final 2 minutes. Gibbs, who missed his first four shots, finally got on the board with 7:44 left and finished with nine points, one more than Geben.

Geben scored four points, had two offensive boards and took a charge as Notre Dame started the second half on an 11-7 run for a 48-47 lead with 14:40 to play.

After five straight points by Pinson gave the Tar Heels a 56-50 lead with 9:48 to play, Notre Dame called a timeout. A 10-4 spurt was highlighted by two 3-pointers by Gibbs after his backhanded missed field goal was hammered home by Rex Pflueger left the game tied at 60-60 with 6:53 left.

Djogo then hit two quick 3-pointers to put the Irish up 66-60 with 5:58 remaining. They would be the last field goals Notre Dame would make.

BIG PICTURE

North Carolina: The Tar Heels, who lost games at Florida State and Virginia earlier this month, got their first ACC road victory and avoided three straight ACC road losses for the first time since 2014. North Carolina has had winning road records in 11 of its 14 seasons under coach Roy Williams, who got the 830th victory to tie Mount St. Mary’s Jim Phelan on the career list.

The milestone was the furthest thing on his mind.

“The tape session tonight is going to be a lot of fun, that’s all I can tell you,” Williams said.

Notre Dame: Matt Farrell, who has missed the last 2 1/2 games with a sprained ankle, dressed and led Notre Dame out of tunnel for pregame warmups but sat on the bench with fellow senior Bonzie Colson (broken left foot, eight weeks) as Brey used eight players, with five of them finishing in double digits in minutes in the first 20 minutes. Farrell is expected to practice Sunday and Monday and likely start Tuesday against visiting Louisville.

“I don’t mind praising another coach,” Williams said about Brey. “What he has done is given them a plan and hope that they can still be successful. They’ve gone from behind an efficient offensive team to a rebounding and defending team.”

Washington’s Thybulle returning for senior season

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Matisse Thybulle will return to Washington for his senior season after contemplating declaring for the NBA draft following a junior campaign in which he was named the Pac-12 defensive player of the year.

“The NBA is really enticing and it was definitely something that I seriously considered when the season was over,” Thybulle told the Seattle Times. “I talked it over with my family and we came to the conclusion that it would be in my best interest to stay and get my degree (in communications) and grow as a basketball player and take this last year to mature and fine tune everything so I can be fully prepared to take that next step when it’s time.”

The 6-foot-5 guard averaged 11.2 points, 2.9 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 3.0 steals per game last season. He shot 44.5 percent from the field and 36.5 percent from 3-point range.

“I talked to coach (Mike Hopkins) and he gave me some good advice that was honestly something that helped in the grand scheme of things,” Thybulle said. “He told me that if I do it (enter the draft), then I should be all in because that’s what I’m going to be up against is a whole bunch of guys fighting for their lives. He thought it would be a better idea for me to stay in school until I’m at that point.”

Washington is awaiting the decision of Noah Dickerson, who declared for the draft but has not hired an agent. The 6-foot-8 averaged 15.5 points and 8.4 rebounds last season.

Koby McEwen transferring to Marquette

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Steve Wojciechowski added a significant piece to his 2019-20 team over the weekend.

Koby McEwen announced his intention to transfer to Marquette from Utah State late Sunday evening.

“I would like to thank God, my family, inner circle and all the schools/coaches that recruited me during this process!” McEwen tweeted. “With that being said, I’m proud to announce that I’ll be furthering my college career at Marquette University.”

McEwen picked the Golden Eagles over fellow finalists Creighton and Grand Canyon after he decided to transfer when the Aggies announced South Dakota coach Craig Smith was taking over the program last month. The 6-foot-4 guard averaged 15.6 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game while shooting 40 percent from the field and 30 percent from 3-point range as a sophomore.

After sitting out the upcoming season, McEwen will have to years of eligibility remaining. Marquette went 21-14 last season, but missed the NCAA tournament for the third time in Wojciechowski’s four years in Milwaukee.

Minnesota adds Vanderbilt transfer Payton Willis

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Minnesota has added some depth for the future.

The Golden Gophers received a pledge from Vanderbilt transfer Payton Willis over the weekend, giving him a guard with two seasons of eligibility remaining starting in 2019-20.

Willis will sit out the upcoming season under NCAA transfer rules.

The 6-foot-4 guard played a limited role in two seasons in Nashville, never averaging more than 18. 5 minutes or 5.2 points per game. He scored in double figures in three games as a sophomore.

Willis was a top-150 prospect in the Class of 2016 coming out of Fayetteville, Ark. with offers from the likes of Tulsa, Rice and Dayton. Vandy and Minnesota were his two high-major offers.

After being ranked in the top-15, Minnesota was beset by injury and suspensions last season as they limped to the finish line in a 15-17 season that featured losses in 12 of its last 13 games.

Richard Pitino still has two available scholarships for the 2018-19 campaign.

Report: Quade Green returning to Kentucky

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John Calipari just landed a critical recruit for 2018-19, and he was already on the roster.

Quade Green, who averaged 25 minutes per game last season, is returning to Kentucky for his sophomore season, his mother told the Lexington Herald-Leader on Monday.

Given that six Wildcat players have entered the draft (Kevin Knox, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Hami Diallo are signing with agents), getting the 6-foot point guard back for a second season is a massive deal for Calipari and Co. The Wildcats have always been at their best under Calipari with returning players as the cornerstones of the roster with talented one-and-dones providing the extra boost. Getting one such returner at the point guard position is even more critical.

Green, who came to Kentucky as a five-star recruit last year, averaged 9.3 points and 2.7 assists per game while shooting 45.1 percent from the field and a respectable 37.1 percent from 3-point range, an area where Kentucky continually needs help.

With Green back in the fold, Kentucky will now await the decisions of PJ Washington, Wenyen Gabriel and Jarred Vanderbilt, who are all going through the pre-draft process without hiring agents, which will potentially allow them to return to school and bolster a Kentucky roster has the look of a top-five team.

CBT Podcast: NBA Draft Early Entry Deadline: Winners, losers and who has the most on the line?

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The NBA Draft Early Entry Deadline came and went on Sunday night, meaning there are now roughly 60 college players that have signed with an agent and another 100 or so that have declared for the draft while retaining their college eligibility. Who were the winners? Who were the losers? Who has the most on the line? Sam Vecenie of the Game Theory podcast joined Rob Dauster to talk through all of it. The rundown:

OPEN: What do NBA teams value in players these days?

10:00: Villanova has more on the line during this testing the water process than anyone

19:00: Just how important was De’Andre Hunter’s decision to return to Virginia

25:25: Gonzaga getting Rui and Killian Tillie back makes them a title favorite

32:10: Nevada has a top ten season on the line with the Martin twins and Jordan Caroline

36:15: #RANTALERT – The decision to turn pro is so much more complicated than “is he a first round pick”

48:30: Rapid fire: Maryland, Kansas, Syracuse, Nebraska, Purdue and Michigan. What do they have on the line?