Tag: North Carolina Tar Heels

Roy Williams
AP Photo/Charlie Niebergall

Issues on both ends result in No. 1 North Carolina’s first loss

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Come Monday we’ll have a new team atop the national polls, all because the shorthanded occupant of the top spot could not maintain a 16-point second half lead.

No. 1 North Carolina scheduled their game at Northern Iowa as a homecoming of sorts for senior point guard Marcus Paige, who is currently sidelined with a broken bone on his right hand. But what would have been a tricky matchup even with Paige on the floor turned into a nightmare of sorts as the second half wore on, with the Panthers outscoring UNC 31-11 over the final 17:40 to win by the final score of 71-67.

UNI certainly deserves credit for their play both offensively and defensively in making the comeback, but they had some help in the form of a visiting team that lost focus. After doing a good job of finding quality looks on offense, including scoring on their first four possessions of the second half, the Tar Heels hit s dry spell. The ball didn’t move as crisply as it did earlier in the game and the player movement wasn’t as sound either.

So even with Justin Jackson scoring 25 points in his best performance of the season to date, these issues were bound to catch up with North Carolina playing against a team as sound defensively as UNI. The three perimeter players who played so well in their first three victories, Joel Berry II, Nate Britt and Theo Pinson, all struggled Saturday afternoon. The trio accounted for 11 points (4-for-16 FG), nine assists and eight turnovers on the day.

That’s something North Carolina can make up for when Paige is in the lineup. But in this period where their best ball-handler and scorer is on the bench, the play of the guards who normally would be in supplementary roles becomes even more important.

The bigger concern coming out of the second half was North Carolina’s play defensively. The Tar Heels had no answer for guards Matt Bohannon and Wes Washpun, who combined to score 26 of their 40 in the game’s final 20 minutes. Some of the responsibility for that can be placed on the guards, but there were also poor defensive rotations on ball screens that led to Washpun (five second-half assists) getting opportunities to either score himself or find open teammates (Bohannon hit three three-pointers).

Of UNI’s final 31 points Washpun had a hand in 25 of them, scoring ten and assisting on 15. That speaks to both the senior’s impact on the game and North Carolina’s inability to slow him down.

Ultimately it’s only November 21, so Roy Williams and his team have plenty of time to work out the kinks on both ends of the floor. It was known that the loss of an All-American has a noticeable impact on how a team performs, so UNC going through an adjustment period is of no surprise. But if the team needed a reminder that their margin for error shrinks significantly without Marcus Paige on the court, they received it in his home state.

Wednesday’s Snacks: Providence holds off Illinois, No. 1 UNC wins

Ed Cooley
Associated Press
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GAME OF THE NIGHT: Providence 60, Illinois 59

The Gavitt Tipoff Games matchup wasn’t a high-scoring affair, but there was plenty of action in a game that had 11 lead changes with neither team leading by more than seven points. Providence point guard Kris Dunn had a quiet night when compared to his season-opening performance against Harvard, finishing with ten points, eight rebounds and three assists. Illinois was able to use multiple defenses, including a 1-3-1 zone and devoting multiple players to the ball-handler when defending pick and rolls in man-to-man, to keep Dunn in check.

However Friars Ben Bentil (18 points, 12 rebounds, three assists), Rodney Bullock (13 points, six rebounds) and Kyron Cartwright (eight points, six assists) stepped forward, keeping Providence in position to win the game. Illinois had three chances to take the lead in the final seconds but all three missed the mark, including a Michael Finke follow dunk attempt of a Malcolm Hill missed layup. Jalen Coleman-Lands led Illinois offensively with 17 points, with Hill (15 points, 11 rebounds) and Finke (12 points, seven rebounds) also scoring in double figures.


Richmond 91, Wake Forest 82: Chris Mooney’s Spiders won the turnover battle decisively, committing just six on the night with Wake Forest finishing with 20. Richmond converted those 20 turnovers into 27 points, and that combined with a balanced scoring effort led by T.J. Cline (19 points, seven rebounds) proved to be the difference. Freshman Bryant Crawford tallied 21 points, five rebounds and six assists for Wake Forest, but he also accounted for seven of the Demon Deacons’ 20 turnovers.

No. 1 North Carolina 78, Wofford 58: The top-ranked Tar Heels moved to 3-0 on the season with a 20-point win over the Terriers, taking control of the game in the second half after leading by just five at the intermission. Joel Berry II continued his solid play with 16 points, four assists and four steals, and Brice Johnson added 16 and 14 rebounds. Johnson and Kennedy Meeks combined to score 30 points (14-for-26 FG) and grab 22 rebounds against the smaller Terriers, who were led offensively by Jaylen Allen’s 15 points.

No. 21 Purdue 96, Incarnate Word 61: A.J. Hammons made his return to the court for Purdue, who didn’t skip a beat in their sound beating of UIW. Hammons played 17 minutes off the bench, racking up eight points, six rebounds and three blocked shots. Isaac Haas led five Purdue players in double figures with 17 points while also grabbing 12 rebounds and blocking four shots, and as a team the Boilermakers shot 59.6 percent from the field.

No. 10 Gonzaga 91, Northern Arizona 52: Mark Few’s Bulldogs rolled to a win in their season opener, with forwards Domantas Sabonis and Kyle Wiltjer leading the way. Sabonis scored 26 points, shooting 12-for-13 from the field, and grabbed seven rebounds with Wiltjer adding 23 points and seven rebounds. If there’s a concern to be taken out of this blowout victory it’s that as a team Gonzaga shot 6-for-23 from beyond the arc. Remove Bryan Alberts’ 3-for-4 night and the percentage is even lower. Given their front court options opponents will look to sag down on Gonzaga and force the guards to beat them, so knocking down shots will be a key for the perimeter rotation moving forward.


Isaiah Miles, Saint Joseph’s: with DeAndre Bembry being the focus of opposing defenses other Hawks will need to step forward. That’s happened thus far this season, with Miles going for 24 points and 14 rebounds in an 89-67 win over Buffalo.

Kahlil Felder, Oakland: One of the best guards you seldom hear about nationally, Felder racked up 27 points, four rebounds and 12 assists in the Golden Grizzlies’ 91-81 win over Eastern Michigan.

Isaac Haas, Purdue: 17 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks in a blowout win over Incarnate Word.

Pascal Siakam, New Mexico State: Siakam accounted for 30 points, 11 rebounds and four assists in the Aggies’ 76-63 win over Tennessee Tech.


Darell Combs, IUPUI: Combs did dish out five assists, but he scored just five points on 1-for-11 shooting from the field in the Jaguars’ loss at NC State.

Mike Thorne Jr., Illinois: Thorne struggled with foul trouble Wednesday night and played just 13 minutes as a result, going scoreless before fouling out in the one-point loss at Providence.


  • Leading by just four at the half, Cincinnati dialed up the pressure on both end of the floor in the second half as they blew out Bowling Green 83-50 on the road. Mick Cronin’s Bearcats outscored the Falcons 48-19 in the second half.
  • Aaron Bacote led five Monarchs in double figures as Old Dominion moved to 3-0 with a 79-48 win over Morgan State.
  • Cat Barber scored 19 points and Caleb Martin and Maverick Rowan posted matching lines of 15 points and seven rebounds as NC State beat IUPUI 79-56.
  • Evan Bradds scored 16 points while also accounting for nine rebounds and four assists in Belmont’s 90-85 win over Western Kentucky.
  • Keith Dambrot’s Akron Zips, who have won 20 games or more in each of the last ten seasons, moved to 3-0 with a win at Arkansas. Wednesday was a rough one for the Razorbacks, who missed out on elite in-state product Malik Monk earlier in the day. He’s signed with Kentucky.
  • Arizona State moved to 2-1 on the season with a 91-53 win over Kennesaw State, outscoring the Owls 56-29 in the second half. Obinna Oleka led four Sun Devils in double figures with 19 points.
  • New Mexico continued its solid start to the season with a 75-51 win over Loyola-Chicago. After Elijah Brown scored 31 Sunday night Tim Wiliams was the star Wednesday, posting a line of 22 points, seven rebounds and four assists.
  • Patrick McCaw scored 24 points and Derrick Jones added 19 as UNLV pulled away down the stretch to beat Southern Utah 84-64 in Las Vegas. Four Runnin’ Rebels managed to score in double figures on the night.

Pregame Shootaround: No. 1 North Carolina back in action

Kennedy Meeks, Joel Berry II
Associated Press
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GAME OF THE DAY: Richmond at Wake Forest, 7:00 p.m. (ESPN3)

Wake Forest picked up a result over the weekend that is better than some may realize, coming back to win at Bucknell after going through a 2014-15 season in which they went 2-10 on the road. Now Danny Manning’s Demon Deacons host a Richmond team that should be a factor in the Atlantic 10 race, one that’s led by forwards Terry Allen and T.J. Cline and guard ShawnDre’ Jones. Wake, which is still without the injured Codi Miller-McIntyre, will counter with talented forwards Devin Thomas and Konstantinos Mitoglou and a freshman guard in Bryant Crawford who’s gotten off to a good start to his college career.

THIS ONE’S GOOD TOO: Illinois at Providence, 7:00 p.m. (FS1)

Look, you don’t pass up any opportunity to watch Providence’s Kris Dunn do his thing at the point; he’s appointment television. Tonight’s matchup with the Fighting Illini should be interesting, as John Groce’s team has faced two solid opponents in North Florida (loss) and North Dakota State (win). Mike Thorne Jr. has played well thus far, and Illinois has junior wing Malcolm Hill as well. They aren’t at full strength, but Illinois has the pieces to challenge the Friars if not leave Providence with the win.


1. Top-ranked North Carolina is back in action, as they’ll host Wofford in Chapel Hill (7:00 p.m., ESPN3). Guards Joel Berry II, Nate Britt and wing Theo Pinson have gotten off to good starts, but it would be nice to see UNC get Justin Jackson going after two quiet outings to begin his sophomore campaign.

2. After having their season-opening game in Okinawa cancelled after one half of basketball, No. 10 Gonzaga opens its season at home against Northern Arizona (10:00 p.m.). How the Bulldog guards deal with NAU’s Kris Yanku will be interesting to watch, not to mention how Mark Few uses the triumvirate of Kyle Wiltjer, Przemek Karnowski and Domas Sabonis on the court at the same time.

3. No. 21 Purdue will look to win its third straight game, as they host Incarnate Word (7:00 p.m., ESPN3). Will senior center A.J. Hammons, who’s been held out of Purdue’s exhibition and first two regular season games for unspecified reasons, be available to play? If so, this is a good opportunity to see how head coach Matt Painter will juggle the rotation of Hammons, Isaac Haas and Caleb Swanigan.

4. What has been a tough day for Arkansas on the recruiting front could be even tougher tonight, as the Razorback host 2-0 Akron in Fayetteville (8:00 p.m., SEC+). Moses Kingsley accounted for 22 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks in the Hogs’ season-opening win, and he’ll have to be a force throughout the season given Arkansas’ limited front court options.

5. Cincinnati, which has won its first two games in blowout fashion, hits the road to take on Bowling Green (7:00 p.m., ESPN3). Mick Cronin’s Bearcats are a team to keep an eye on this season, not only in the American Athletic Conference but nationally as well.

6. Just a couple days removed from picking up a win at rival New Mexico State, New Mexico hosts Loyola-Chicago (9:00 p.m.) in what should be an entertaining matchup. While UNM’s Cullen Neal and Loyola’s Milton Doyle are two players to watch so is UNM guard Elijah Brown, who won Mountain West Player of the Week honors after scoring 31 points Sunday night.


  • UC Irvine at UCF, 7:00 p.m.
  • IUPUI at NC State, 7:00 p.m.
  • Buffalo at Saint Joseph’s, 7:00 p.m.
  • Southern Utah at UNLV, 10:30 p.m.