Blog: UNC falls to Pittsburgh 80-75
Posted March 14
Greensboro, N.C. — A poor offensive start for the Tar Heels in the first and second half had them down by 20 points with 7:22 to go in the game. Marcus Paige changed the tide with four three-pointers helping to cut the Pittsburgh lead to as little as three. But the Tar Heels comeback fell short in the 80-75 loss. Pittsburgh advances to the ACC Tournament semifinals and will face Virginia Saturday at 1 p.m.
1:39 second half; Pitt 75, UNC 67: Marcus Paige drains another three to cut the Pittsburgh lead to single digits. Roy Williams calls his first timeout of the half with 1:39 to go in the game and eight points behind Pitt.
4:56 second half; Pitt 66, UNC 53: Leslie McDonald is the first to foul out with eight minutes left to go in the game. Around the six minute mark, North Carolina's Marcus Paige hit back-to-back threes and Brice Johnson dunked it to bring them within 13 of Pittsburgh.
8:27 second half; Pitt 52, UNC 38: North Carolina has gained some ground but still have a long way to go only shooting 25% in the second half.
10:56 second half; Pitt 50, UNC 33: Pittsburgh has gone on a 7-0 run to extend their lead to 17 over North Carolina. The Panthers extended it to 19 for their largest lead of the game before Marcus Paige hit a basket.
15:46 second half; Pitt 41, UNC 31: Lamar Patterson opens up the second half with a three-pointer as the Tar Heels don't start any better in the second half as they did the first. Marcus Paige got tripped up and asked to be taken out of the game, he went is on the bike watching the game on the sideline.
Halftime; Pitt 36, UNC 26: Pittsburgh hit two threes to keep them ahead of North Carolina as the Heels have picked up their offense. James Robinson leads Pitt with 12 points and Brice Johnson leads UNC with 8 at the half.
3:54 first half; Pitt 28, UNC 15: UNC's J.P. Tokoto hits back-to-back baskets to break their scoring drought. Marcus Paige hits his first basket on a driving layup as shots are beginning to fall for North Carolina.
8:35 first half; Pitt 20, UNC 8: A North Carolina turnover led to Pittsburgh doubling the Tar Heels up at 14-7. A few minutes later North Carolina finds themselves behind by 12 points as Pittsburgh is easily scoring in the paint.
11:48 first half; Pitt 10, UNC 7: North Carolina is continuing to struggle on the scoring end but have held Pittsburgh to just 10 points to keep the game close at the under-12 media timeout.
14:49 first half; Pitt 6, UNC 3: North Carolina failed to score on their first possession of the game as Pittsburgh's Talib Zanna hit the Panthers first bucket after driving the lane. It takes four minutes before the Tar Heels can grab their first field goal of the game on a James Michael McAdoo layup.
A nearly full Greensboro Coliseum is predominantly light blue moments before tip.
UNC's Marcus Paige came out during warm-ups with his left thumb wrapped, per the North Carolina basketball twitter account it is not a recent injury and is just for precautionary reasons. Paige's thumb has been sore all year.
North Carolina is starting the usual Marcus Paige, J.P. Tokoto, James Michael McAdoo, Kennedy Meeks and Leslie McDonald against Pittsburgh. Tip time is 2:25 p.m.
Pregame: Seeking their first ACC Tournament title since 2008, the 15th-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels get their postseason underway with Friday's quarterfinal matchup against the Pittsburgh Panthers (2 p.m., WRAL-TV).
One of the winningest programs in this event, North Carolina comes in with a 90-42 tournament record, with 17 ACC Tournament titles, second only to Duke (19). The Tar Heels had some lulls this season, but very few teams over the second half of the campaign played better basketball.
Marquee victories over the likes of Louisville, Michigan State, Kentucky and Duke highlighted a season that saw Roy Williams' squad win 12 straight games down the stretch before falling in the regular-season finale at Duke to finish tied with the Blue Devils at 13-5, settling for the four-seed in this event.
UNC battled through its share of adversity, as its top player P.J. Hairston never suited up and guard Leslie McDonald missed a fair share of games. Others stood up and led the way in Chapel Hill, starting with sophomore guard Marcus Paige, who wore two hats, serving as the team's top scorer (17.1 ppg) and distributor (4.5 apg).
Paige earned All-ACC First-Team honors for his efforts. The supporting cast was instrumental as well, thanks to the play of Second- Team honoree James Michael McAdoo (14.2 ppg), McDonald (10.7 ppg) and Brice Johnson (10.2 ppg).
The Tar Heels have really come together over the second half of the season and certainly know their way around the ACC Tournament. That being said, Pittsburgh is coming off an impressive win and will give UNC all it can handle in this one.
Jamie Dixon's Panthers are in their first ACC Tournament, but made a rather smooth transition in their first season in the conference, in contention early before faltering a bit down the stretch and ending up 11-7 in league play, picking up the five-seed. Pittsburgh had a bye in the first round and treated the second round like a tune-up, routing Wake Forest, 84-55.
The Panthers held a 14-point lead at intermission (39-25) and kept pouring it on after the break, posting a rather easy 29-point rout of the Demon Deacons on Thursday. Lamar Patterson led the way with a game-high 24 points.
Talib Zanna just missed a double-double with 17 points and nine rebounds, while Josh Newkirk chipped in with 10 points off the bench for Pittsburgh, which shot an impressive 50 percent from the floor overall.
Aggressive play at both ends of the floor is what Pittsburgh brings to the table. The Panthers finished third in the ACC in scoring (72.6 ppg), fifth in scoring defense (62.5 ppg), third in scoring margin (+10.1) and second in rebounding margin (+6.4). Both seniors, Patterson and Zanna lead the way.
The 6-foot-5 Patterson ranked fifth in the conference in scoring in the regular season at 17.6 ppg. The 6-9 Zanna added 12.5 ppg and ranked second in the ACC in rebounding (8.3 rpg).
North Carolina has won eight of the nine all-time meetings with Pittsburgh, including a 75-71 victory in Chapel Hill on Feb. 15.