Sunday, February 17, 2013
Buckets battle: Virginia's highly-ranked defense can't stop North Carolina
UVa falls in a high-scoring contest despite holding two 10-point leads and getting a career-high 27 points from Joe Harris. North Carolina 93, Virginia 81
Virginia coach Tony Bennett wasn't pleased with UVa's defense Saturday.
North Carolina's Brice Johnson (11) dunks against Virginia's Justin Anderson.
North Carolina's James Michael McAdoo (43) blocks Virginia's Joe Harris on Saturday. Harris was edged out for the game's scoring leader by Carolina's P.J. Hairston, who finished with 29 points.
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Tony Bennett has never been in a bigger rush to congratulate the opposing coaches and players.
Bennett was in no mood to linger Saturday afternoon, bolting for the locker room after his Virginia men's basketball team dropped a 93-81 decision at North Carolina.
Virginia (18-7, 8-4 ACC) came into the game ranked second in Division I in scoring defense, with a yield of 52.3 points per game, but Carolina (17-8, 7-5) exceeded that total in the second half alone.
And, that's not to say that Bennett was the least bit pleased with the first half, which ended 40-40.
"You can't take away everything," Bennett said, "and we weren't taking away anything. I thought [the Tar Heels] got to the lane, I thought they got to the glass, I thought they got rhythm threes.
"It's a bad feeling when you're sitting on the bench, saying 'we can't get a stop.' We just exchanged buckets and maybe that's made for TV and everybody enjoys that, but it's not fun when you're sitting there.'"
Maybe surprisingly, Virginia shot better from the field (58.5 percent) and 3-point area (57.1 percent) than the Tar Heels, who checked in at 49.2 percent and 46.4 percent in those categories.
However, the Cavaliers had twice as many turnovers as Carolina (14-7) and couldn't keep the Tar Heels off the free-throw line, where they were 22 of 30.
Virginia junior Joe Harris established a career scoring high for the second game in a row, hitting 10 of 13 from the field and finishing with 27 points. It was the fifth time in the past six games that he had scored more than 20 points and, in the sixth, he had 18.
"I don't really care," Harris said. "I'd rather that we'd won the game and I scored two points."
Harris yielded game scoring honors to 6-foot-5 Carolina sophomore P.J. Hairston, who finished with a career-high 29 points, including six 3-pointers. Hairston was 1 for 7 on 3-pointers Wednesday night in a 73-68 loss at Duke, although he did match a career high with 23 points in that game.
"P.J. was knocking in some shots," Carolina coach Roy Williams said, "but what I liked was his offensive rebounding more than anything."
Carolina had 11 offensive rebounds en route to a 33-24 margin on the boards.
"For us to be competitive or successful in this environment, there's a few constants that have to be there," said Bennett, whose teams had never lost a game in which they scored 80 points in seven seasons, the first three at Washington State.
"First of all, take care of the ball and not turn it over, and then your ability to keep them off the glass. [Carolina] had 16 points off turnovers and 13 off the offensive glass."
Virginia got 3-pointers from Harris and Paul Jesperson on its first two possessions of the game and led 13-4 before the first television timeout. Twice, the Cavaliers led by 10 points in the first half at 19-9 and 29-19.
The Tar Heels had separate 8-0 and 11-0 runs in the first half; then Carolina scored the first eight points of the second half and Virginia never got closer than five points before UNC started to pull away.
Virginia had won seven of its previous eight games, basically with one post player, 6-9 Akil Mitchell. Carolina went with a smaller lineup Saturday that included 6-9 sophomore James Michael McAdoo and nobody else taller than 6-7 junior Reggie Bullock.
Virginia had won the year's first meeting between the teams, 61-52 in Charlottesville, Va., but dropped to 6-65 all-time in Chapel Hill.
As opposed to Carolina, which had four double-figure scorers, the only Cavalier to join Harris in double figures was senior point guard Jontel Evans, who finished with a season-high 12 points but also was saddled with a season-high six turnovers to go with five assists.
"They're a team that loves to rip and run and we [love] playing the half-court," Evans said. "We got seduced into their style of play."
Mitchell 3-7 3-4 9, Jesperson 3-5 0-0 9, Harris 10-13 3-3 27, Anderson 4-9 0-2 8, Evans 5-7 1-2 12, Nolte 2-5 0-0 6, Barnette 1-1 0-0 3, Jones 1-2 0-0 3, Atkins 2-4 0-0 4, Browman 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 31-53 7-11 81.
NORTH CAROLINA (17-8)
Bullock 3-8 2-4 11, McAdoo 4-10 1-4 9, Hairston 8-14 7-8 29, Strickland 3-5 6-8 12, Paige 4-9 6-6 17, Johnson 3-4 0-0 6, McDonald 3-7 0-0 7, Tokoto 0-0 0-0 0, Hubert 0-0 0-0 0, Simmons 0-0 0-0 0, Moody 0-0 0-0 0, Tanner 1-1 0-0 2, Manor 0-1 0-0 0, Robinson 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 29-59 22-30 93.
Halftime-Tied 40-40. 3-Point Goals-Virginia 12-21 (Harris 4-6, Jesperson 3-5, Nolte 2-5, Evans 1-1, Barnette 1-1, Jones 1-2, Anderson 0-1), North Carolina 13-28 (Hairston 6-12, Paige 3-5, Bullock 3-7, McDonald 1-4). Fouled Out-None. Rebounds-Virginia 24 (Mitchell 9), North Carolina 33 (McAdoo 10). Assists-Virginia 12 (Anderson, Evans 5), North Carolina 18 (Strickland 6). Total Fouls-Virginia 21, North Carolina 11. A-20,616.