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Heels find another way to win – 73-66 over UCLA

How many ways can North Carolina find to win? After an opening round NCAA Tournament blowout win over Marquette, then losing a big lead and beating Baylor in overtime, UNC outlasted UCLA in a back-and-forth contest that saw Caleb Love take over the game and score 27 in the second half.

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UNC controls final minutes to close out UCLA 73-66. Credit to cottonbro on Pexels.com

Brady Manek hit key shots in the first half to help keep the Tar Heels close. In the second half, the Bruins got hit with a lot of Love as he finished with 30 points. Love and Manek had some help with RJ Davis and Armando Bacot also finishing in double figures.

When asked about Love’s play in a post-game interview on CBS, UNC coach Hubert Davis said, “At the end of the day, you just need guys to step up and Caleb Love was absolutely fantastic.”

Bruins fade late

UCLA led early then exchanged the lead with UNC before taking control of the game and leading 31-28 at the half. UCLA continued to lead most of the second half, but the Tar Heel defense took its toll while Love was getting hot. The Bruins had four players in double figures, but dependable scorer Jaime Jaquez was held to just 1-11 in the in the second half, while the team shot 15-35.

What UNC did to win

  1. Second half of second half defense was tight.
  2. Committed just 9 fouls.
  3. Only committed 8 turnovers.
  4. No panic when pressured inbounding the ball.
  5. Led 19-6 on second chance points.
  6. Made 10 three-point baskets while holding UCLA to 5.
  7. Out rebounded UCLA 43-34.
  8. Grabbed 15 offensive rebounds.

Up next

Saint Peter’s continued to pull off upsets as they held off #3 Purdue 67-64 and will face UNC on Sunday. This is the first time that a 15-seed has made it to the Elite 8 and will be the first time that an 8-seed and 15-seed have met in the tournament.

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Robinson over Farmville in 2A final thriller

Jay M. Robinson (28-3) hung on to win the NC Boys 2A Championship 70-68 Saturday afternoon in Chapel Hill. Farmville Central junior Jah Short led all scorers with 28 points. Farmville used a prowling full-court defense to help overcome a halftime deficit, and 13-point second half Robinson lead, to tie the score multiple times in the last minute.

Jah Short winds up for fastbreak jam. NC 2A Basketball Championship. March 12, 2022.

This is the first time that state championship basketball games have been played in the large college campus arena settings since prior to our introduction to Covid-19. Three-time defending state champion Farmville Central got down early in the game at the Dean E. Smith Center but did not go away easily.

Deavin Hobbs attacks the rim! NC 2A Basketball Championship. March 12, 2022.

Junior Jermaine Gray led Robinson with 22 points and was named Most Outstanding Player. Junior Daevin Hobbs had 16 points and 17 rebounds and was recognized with the Charlie Adams State Championship MVP Award. Junior wing Zi’ Kei Wheeler also added 14 points for the Bulldogs.

Jermaine Gray scores Robinson in 2A finals at the Dean Smith Center. March 12, 2022.

Short was named Most Outstanding Player for Farmville Central as he impressed with a strong offensive game and was not shy on defense as the Jaguars forced multiple late turnovers as they pushed to even the score. Farmville had trouble securing rebounds after late free throw misses by Robinson in the closing seconds but had one last chance after Robinson’s Jermaine Grant missed the first before making the second of two free throw attempts. Farmville coach Larry Williford used his last time out to draw up a play that ended in a desperation shot from half-court by Short as time expired.

Photo gallery: Game in pictures – Robinson over Farmville Central

J. M. Robinson coach Lavar Batts, Sr. settles team during timeout. March 12, 2022.
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Game in pictures – Robinson over Farmville Central

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Senior Night – NCCU

North Carolina Central University improved to 15-14 (8-5) with a 67-62 win over visiting South Carolina State University on Senior Night. The Eagles scored 42 points in the second half to come from behind after trailing by eight at the break.

NCCU Senior Night tips off against SCSU. Durham, NC. March 3, 2022.

With the win, NCCU ended a three-game losing streak, secured third place in the MEAC, and will play 6th-seeded Maryland-Eastern Shore in the conference tournament on Thursday March 10th. Gametime is set for 8pm from the Norfolk Scope Arena in Norfolk, Virginia. SCSU finishes in fifth place at 15-15 (7-7) and will begin the tournament against 4th-seeded Morgan State University at 6pm Thursday.

Justin Wright scored 24 points to lead NCCU. Eric Boone had a 12-points, 12-rebounds double-double and Kris Monroe added 10 points and 8 rebounds. Antonio Madlock had a season-high 23 points for SCSU while Rahsaan Edwards added 13 points.

#11 Marque Maultsby drives as an official decides on the call. NCCU Senior Night – March 3, 2022.

Follow link for more NCCU-SCSU photos.

NCCU SENIOR NIGHT PHOTO GALLERY

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NCCU Senior Night 2022

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North Carolina Central University hosted South Carolina State University for Senior Night and Greek Night. Durham, NC. March 3, 2022.

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Gracious K – raw emotions

Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski was very gracious in complimenting UNC’s performance in their win on Saturday. Krzyzewski spoke of the preparedness of the UNC team, defense, Armando Bacot, and Carolina’s overall play throughout the game. Outside of the comments about his team’s performance and outcome being “unacceptable,” Krzyzewski was composed throughout the emotional postgame ceremony. Like Duke fans, he wanted to win this one. Badly! His hail to the crowd to be quiet while he made the impromptu “unacceptable” comments, followed by the touching acknowledgment of his family, then the gracious post-game press conference gave a glimpse of all of the characters known as Coach K. Unyielding competitor, loving family man, and world class public relations expert. Krzyzewski can make you dislike him for his comments one minute, then admire him for his passion for Duke and show of love and emotions for his wife and family a few minutes later.

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UNC over Duke in thrilling 94-81 win

For many years, ABC opened with the “Thrill of victory and the agony of defeat!” So goes the North Carolina-Duke basketball rivalry! One month ago, Duke embarrassed North Carolina with a 20-point win in Chapel Hill. Today UNC returned the favor and delivered a win that will forever live in the minds of Duke loyalists and be celebrated by those that pull for the Tarheels.

North Carolina showed the poise and grit that has been building over the season and intensified after the loss to Duke, going 7-1 and winning five in a row to close the regular season.

UNC showed improved play in every aspect of the game from its first meeting with Duke. Statistically, the game was mostly even, but North Carolina had a stronger second half and played with more poise with only five turnovers for the game. Brady Manek with 20 points, 11 rebounds, 3 assists and RJ Davis with 21 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assist, played every minute of the game. Armando Bacot played through first-half foul trouble to finish with 23 points on 10-11 shooting, 7 steals, and 2 blocked shots, likely locking up conference player of the year honors. Caleb Love delivered another strong second half and finished with 22 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists and went 12-12 from the free throw line. Leaky Black chipped in with 6 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists while delivering another strong defensive performance that should strengthen the conversation for his consideration for defensive player of the year honors.

AJ Griffin was held to 2-5 shooting and only scored 5 points, after torching UNC for 27 points in the first meeting. Paolo Banchero needed 26 shots to score 23 points, but only managed to score 8 points in the second half. Four turnovers neutralized Banchero’s 5 assists. Mark Williams finished with 16 points on 8-11 shooting and 13 rebounds while Jeremy Roach was 5-6 from the floor and 4-4 from the line for 15 points. Trevor Keels delivered 12 points and 3 rebounds.

UNC finishes the regular season at 23-8 (15-5) in conference play. Duke falls to 26-5 (16-4). Both teams have a double bye in the conference tournament and will play on Thursday with no chance of meeting again unless both make the conference final on Saturday.

Hubert Davis has tried to make this season about his players but has already secured a memorable place among coaches in the North Carolina-Duke rivalry. “Instant classic” is overused, but how else can we rate this game? The best rivalry in college sports continues to grow and will live in the minds of both teams forever. Until they meet again, UNC will remember the thrill of this victory. Duke will be haunted by the agony of the defeat.

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UNC exceeding expectations

Twenty-four hours later and recapping Monday’s game still brings smiles: UNC 88 – Syracuse 79 in overtime! That was interesting and entertaining! Surviving the junk (zone) defense that Syracuse plays and 36 points from Cole Swider acting as a tournament bid dream killer was big for the Tarheels. Some might want to throw out the stats and move on but remember the 21 assists on 29 made baskets. Moving the ball works! Remember the 44 rebounds. Hustle made it happen! Brady Manek led UNC with 22 points on 9-18 shooting in 43 minutes of action. Caleb Love contributed 21 points on a night when his shooting was off until he lit up the scoreboard near the end of the regular period, then helped put the game away in overtime with two 3-pointers and an and-1. RJ Davis added 17 points, shooting 5-11 from three, while Amando Bacot gave his usual double-double with 17 points and 18 rebounds. Add Leaky Black’s 8 points, 7 rebounds, and 7 assists and Puff Johnson’s defense and energy over 15 minutes of play and you have a happy but tired team that’s ready for a day off!

This North Carolina team has accomplished a lot during what seems like an up and down season with inconsistent play. Pile on criticism by fans and media that questioned everything from who was hired as coach, to defensive effort and understanding what it means to wear Carolina Blue, and you have a team with a reputation that may not represent how well they have actually performed. True, we cannot ignore the losses. Every loss was bad! I watched all eight! Like many fans, I was also frustrated at some point during every win and just as annoyed by media coverage and the more than deserved airtime given to the likes of Jerry Palm and his attempts at humor in describing the ACC as “Duke and the 14 dwarfs.”

UNC has managed to win 22 games, scored 78.1 points per game, made 255 three-point baskets, averaged 76.6% while making more free throws than its opponents have attempted, outrebounded opponents by 8 per game, and had more assists, more steals, and more blocks than opponents. Plus, this team has never lost more than two games in a row and have had win streaks of 3-5-2-2-4-2 and 4 games. Yes, this team has some concerns, but maybe we gave up before giving them time to develop. Perhaps it’s time to be more patient. Trust the process and watch this team as they continue to exceed expectations.

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NET no measure of excitement – Florida State tops Virginia

Florida State battled back from eight points down with 5:38 to play for a 64-63 win at Virginia. Armaan Franklin made one of two free throws to put Virginia ahead by two points with 14 seconds left. Matthew Cleveland rebounded Franklin’s missed free throw, then scored 7 seconds later to tie the game at 61. Franklin felt some redemption after getting the inbound pass, dribbling down court, and scoring to put Virginia up by two with less than one second showing on the clock when the ball cleared the net. After a quick review of the time, officials added .6 seconds, giving Florida State one second to make a miracle play. Harriston Prieto inbounded the ball by moving down the baseline to his left and floating a pass over halfcourt to Cleveland who turned as he caught the ball and put up a 3-pointer for the win! The ACC may be down in the NET rankings and only have one team ranked in the top 25 of most national polls, but conference play has been as entertaining as any in the country!