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No 13 UNC beats Michigan 86-71 in Big Ten/ACC Challenge

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina coach Roy Williams spent a sleepless night stewing over an ugly weekend loss, then showed his players the film of what happens when they don’t play with the toughness or intensity needed to joust with a top-tier opponent.

It’s too early to say if his 13th-ranked Tar Heels learned from it just yet, though they at least refound their shooting touch against Michigan.

Luke Maye scored 27 points to help UNC beat the Wolverines 86-71 on Wednesday night in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, earning a solid offensive showing days after a miserable output against Michigan State.

Joel Berry II added 17 points for the Tar Heels (6-1), who lost 63-45 loss to No. 3 Michigan State in the PK80 Invitational on Sunday night. That included them shooting a program-record-low 24.6 percent, making just 1 of 18 3-point attempts and meekly responding to a team that came after them defensively.

“I’m not one of those coaches that’s just going to say, ‘Oh it’s a bad game, well let’s go on,'” Williams said, adding: “You make those kind of mistakes and have people outwork you with more intensity and more effort, I think you’ve got to show them.”

The Tar Heels closed the first half on a 17-5 run for a 51-37 lead, then went a 17-2 run to blow the game open. And that 34-7 run over roughly 13 minutes turned a 34-32 lead into a 68-39 romp with more than 13 minutes left.

“We’ve had seasons where we’ve lost early and the rest of the season went well for us,” Berry said. “So it’s not time to panic, it’s just time to get better and start buying into the system and understand what’s going on.”

Moe Wagner scored 20 points to lead Michigan (6-2), which cooled quickly after a hot start and couldn’t keep up once UNC got rolling.

“You’ve got to guard and rebound the ball,” Wagner said. “We didn’t do both of them in the first half really well, so if you put yourself in a hole like that the first half, it’s really hard to come back.”

BIG PICTURE

Michigan: The Wolverines started with an efficient attack that spread the court, knocked down 3-pointers and caught UNC backdoor. Charles Matthews even banked in a 3 to beat the shot clock and cap an 8-for-8 shooting start. But the Wolverines shot roughly 35 percent from there, including 6 of 30 from behind the arc, with execution that frustrated coach John Beilein — who said his team lacked first-half “grit” and “got what we deserved.”

“I think North Carolina might be that good, and we’re definitely not that bad,” Beilein said. “But we just certainly played bad, poorly today. We’ve just got to take it.”

UNC: While the Tar Heels let loose some pent-up frustration, it helped, too, that they were back home for the first time in two weeks after an extended trip west that included a win at Stanford before three PK80 games in Portland, Oregon.

“It was a little bit of a relief on Monday morning when we got here,” said junior Kenny Williams, who had 12 points. “just because we were out there for so long.”

ROLLING AGAIN

Maye had eight points on 3-for-13 shooting against Michigan State, but made 11 of 16 shots for his fifth 20-point game this season.

“I kind of wanted to bounce back from our game against Michigan State,” Maye said. “I think all of us did.”

TIP-INS

North Carolina didn’t miss consecutive shots from the field at any point and shot 65 percent during that first half. … This was the first meeting since UNC’s 77-71 win in the 1993 NCAA title game that included Chris Webber famously calling a late timeout that the Wolverines didn’t have. UNC honored members of that ’93 team during a first-half timeout, too. … Michigan is 2-6 in Challenge road games. … UNC made 7 of 15 3-point attempts, with Berry and Kenny Williams each making three.

UP NEXT

Michigan: The Wolverines host Indiana in their Big Ten opener Saturday.

UNC: The Tar Heels travel to Charlotte to face Davidson on Friday.

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More AP college basketball: http://collegebasketball.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP_Top25

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Follow Aaron Beard on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/aaronbeardap

Jalek Felton serves up first poster dunk of collegiate career

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The final seconds of No. 9 North Carolina’s 96-72 win at Stanford Monday night proved to be far more eventful than many anticipated, thanks to freshman guard Jalek Felton. The nephew of former Tar Heel point guard and 2005 national champion Raymond Felton, Jalek drove towards the basket with Stanford’s 6-foot-11 sophomore big man Trevor Stanback standing in the way.

The attempt to stop Felton at the rim did not work out well for Stanback. And someone on the North Carolina bench was so fired up about the dunk that he broke into a full sprint towards the baseline.

North Carolina played the game, with Stanford being coached by one of Roy Williams’ former players in Jerod Haase, ahead of its trip to Portland for the inaugural PK80 event.

Broken hand sidelines North Carolina PG Joel Berry II

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North Carolina’s defense of its national title will likely begin without its most important player, as it was announced on Monday that senior point guard Joel Berry II will miss approximately four weeks due to a broken bone in his right hand.

Berry started at the point each of the last two seasons, earning Most Outstanding Player honors in April as the Tar Heels defeated Gonzaga to win the national title. As a junior, Berry averaged 14.7 points, 3.6 assists and 3.1 rebounds per game and started 37 of the 38 games in which he played. Berry shot 42.6 percent from the field and 38.3 percent from three, with the latter percentage being the best on team amongst players who attempted at least two three-pointers per game.

Berry was named an NBC Sports Preseason Third-Team All-American in late September.

With Berry out of the lineup, North Carolina loses its floor general as well as one of their top perimeter shooters. Sophomore Seventh Woods and freshman Jalek Felton become more important options at the point as a result of Berry’s injury, and the team doesn’t lack for perimeter shooters either with Cameron Johnson, Brandon Robinson, Kenny Williams and freshman Andrew Platek all being capable of helping to pick up the slack.

North Carolina opens its regular season on November 10 against Northern Iowa.

North Carolina ends a memorable day by raising new championship banner

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North Carolina ended a memorable day for the program on Friday night by unveiling men’s basketball’s seventh national title banner during the annual, Late Night with Roy season kickoff event.

Celebrating last season’s national championship victory, the Tar Heels could breathe a giant sigh of relief on Fridday night following the NCAA ruling earlier in the day that cleared North Carolina after years of investigation. North Carolina was accused of alleged academic misconduct and fake paper classes involving former basketball players which led to a seven-year investigation by the NCAA.

While some believed North Carolina might have to vacate either the 2005 and/or 2009 national titles with the NCAA’s potential ruling, instead, the Tar Heels got to raise banner No. 7 in peace as they continue to sit behind UCLA and Kentucky in the men’s basketball national title race.

North Carolina lands five-star 2018 wing Nassir Little

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North Carolina landed a huge commitment in the Class of 2018 on Wednesday as five-star wing Nassir Little pledged to the Tar Heels.

Only the second-five-star prospect to commit to North Carolina in the last four recruiting classes, Little is a monster grab for head coach Roy Williams and the Tar Heels.

But he comes with baggage.

Little had long been linked to Arizona and Miami, and the two schools were thought to be the leaders for his services. But both of those programs were mentioned in the FBI complaints released last week in what essentially amounted to a bidding war for a player identified only as ‘Player-12’. Little is believed to be that player.

Little’s former AAU program, 1Family, is involved in the college basketball corruption scandal as well. The program’s former director, Brad Augustine, was arrested last Tuesday.

The 1Family program responded by writing a letter defending Little on Twitter, expressing that Little and his family were innocent.

“The Little family did not ask for, nor were offered any money by any institution or individual,” 1Family’s announcement said. “They were completely unaware of any of the alleged offenses that may have mentioned or contained their son’s name. There is not a single player in our program, nor family member of any player, that had any knowledge or discussion about payments being made in regards to making a college decision.”

After a tremendous summer in which he shot up the national rankings, the 6-foot-7 Little is a consensus five-star prospect — rated as the No. 5 overall player in the Rivals national Class of 2018 rankings.

A versatile athlete who has a chance to develop into a really good defender, Little is a terror to defend in transition thanks to his size and burst off the floor. With good length and mobility, Little is a strong enough rebounder to play small-ball four if necessary while also being athletic enough to play on the wing and guard some smaller players. If he improves his perimeter skill level then he won’t be in school for very long.

North Carolina’s class gets a huge boost from the addition of a top-ten player like Little as he joins four-star guards Rechon Black and Coby White in the Class of 2018 recruiting haul. Little took official visits to North Carolina and Georgia Tech during the recruiting process while Arizona, Duke and Miami were his other finalists.

Report: North Carolina won’t attend White House

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After capturing a national championship earlier this year, the North Carolina men’s basketball team will not be visiting the White House, a North Carolina spokesman said to Andrew Carter of the The Charlotte Observer.

Although the Tar Heels were invited to go to the White House from the staff of President Donald Trump, the team couldn’t figure out a date that worked.

“We couldn’t find a date that worked for both parties,” North Carolina team spokesman Steve Kirschner said to Carter. “We tried about eight or nine dates and between they couldn’t work out that date, we couldn’t work out that date, so – we would have liked to have gone, but not going.”

According to Carter’s report, Kirschner also said that North Carolina players, “were fine with going.”

With Trump’s recent comments towards NFL players and the national anthem and his Saturday morning tweet at Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors, there has been a lot of controversy surrounding the President with regards to athletes over the past 24 hours.

Although the timing of this may seem like North Carolina is making some sort of political statement, the school is downplaying any sort of politics by focusing on the bad timing.