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Butler outlasts North Carolina surge, 82-71

Posted November 20, 2012

— Butler quickly took the lead over North Carolina at the Semifinals of the Maui Invitation at the Lahaina Civic Center. The Tar Heels have not been able to find an offensive rhythm and the Bulldogs are taking advantage.

At the half Butler leads UNC 35-18, Bulldogs Rotnei Clarke leads the team with 11 points and five rebounds. Carolina freshman Marcus Paige leads the Heels with five points, one rebound and one assist.

With under ten to go in the second half, North Carolina has finally found their spark, but it ended up being too little too late. The Heels cut a once 29 point lead to 6, but couldn't get any closer.

FACTS & STATS: Site: Lahaina Civic Center (2,400) -- Maui, Hawaii. Television: ESPN. Home Record: Butler 1-0, UNC 2-0. Away Record: Butler 0-1, UNC 1-0. Neutral Record: Butler 1-0, UNC 1-0. Conference Record: Butler 0-0, UNC 0-0. Series Record: North Carolina leads, 2-1.

GAME NOTES: The Butler Bulldogs will once again play their cherished role of David as they try to upset the No. 9 North Carolina Tar Heels in the semifinal round of the Maui Invitational at the Lahaina Civic Center.

The winner of this game will advance to the championship round to face either Illinois or Chaminade.

The Bulldogs are coming off a thrilling 72-71 first-round win over Marquette courtesy of a game-winning three-pointer by Rotnei Clarke as time expired. Butler struggled offensively throughout the entire game and had made only 3- of-20 attempts from beyond the arc before Clarke's buzzer beater, but it only turned the ball over seven times which created just enough possessions to squeak out the win. Coach Brad Stevens has taken Butler to unprecedented heights during his tenure, which makes it nearly impossible to count the Atlantic 10's newest member out of any game.

The Tar Heels' 95-49 win over Mississippi State in their first round game was not as glamorous or exciting as the Butler-Marquette contest, but it was much more impressive. UNC dominated the Bulldogs by making 15-of-32 attempts from distance, dishing out 22 assists, and recording 16 steals. Mississippi State managed to net just 28.3 percent of its shots versus the active Tar Heels' defense. Coach Roy Williams seems to have a title contender on his hands despite sending off four first round picks to the NBA over the offseason. UNC has reached the championship game of the Maui Invitational five times in history and it has been crowned tournament champions three times. The last time the Tar Heels won the event was in 2008.

This will be the fourth time in history these two programs collide on the hardwood. The Tar Heels hold a 2-1 edge in the all-time series that has been idle since 1994.

The Bulldogs do not have a superstar that stands out, but they are solid at every position. Khyle Marshall paced the four Butler players that scored in double-figures with 24 points on 11-of-15 shooting from the floor. The junior forward also grabbed nine rebounds to establish a season-high in that category as well. Clarke's last second trey gave him 20 points, but he made only 7- of-21 field goal attempts to get there. Sophomore forward Roosevelt Jones did a great job distributing with a team-best four assists while center Andrew Smith added 10 points in 24 minutes before fouling out.

The Tar Heels, as usual, do have a player that stands out. This season it is sophomore forward James Michael McAdoo. Although he scored only 10 points in Monday's blowout win, McAdoo was unstoppable inside prior to the tournament. He began the season with a pair of double-doubles and finished just one rebound shy of his third at Long Beach State on Friday. UNC showed versus MSU that it will be impossible to leave its perimeter players to help on the star forward. Leslie McDonald drained 6-of-9 three-point attempts on his way to a game-high 21 points while P.J. Hairston made four from deep to net 18 points. Swingman Reggie Bullock has a bigger role in the offense this season after serving primarily as a spot-up shooter and lock down defender in 2011-12.

It is incredible how deep the Tar Heels managed to stay despite losing its four best players. Butler has an edge in experience, but that is its only advantage. When the Bulldogs lost to an unimpressive Xavier squad just a week ago, it became clear they are not the super mid-major they once were when Gordon Haywood and Shelvin Mack were running the show. Butler will put up a much better fight than MSU did, but UNC will create some distance as it moves towards the championship game.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: North Carolina 79, Butler 64

72 Comments

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  • trueblue0100 Nov 21, 12:21 p.m.

    Live by the 3, die by the 3

    — Posted by Voice of Reason 23

    We're discussing UNC here, not dook!

  • senor wuf Nov 20, 10:54 p.m.

    i am sure he cares what you think..lol

    — Posted by ugottabkiddinme

    Every human being should be aware of the way they carry themselves. You are right, I seriously... View More

    — Posted by senor wuf

    I'm sure you had the same thoughts about CJ Leslie too.

    — Posted by mxteam44

    thats what i was thinking....his attitude is why state can't win the big games

    — Posted by ugottabkiddinme

    Yes, but CJ Leslie has the sort of problem that hurts himself and state. I don't see state players staring down opposing players and talking smack. I don't approve of CJ's attitude, but at least he's not a trash-talker. Both give off negative vibes, but they are different types.

  • Sauras69 Nov 20, 10:47 p.m.

    UNC had 70% more intensity in the second half vs the 1st. The 3/4 trap defense worked for a... View More

    — Posted by Sauras69

    As improbable as it seemed, UNC made a heck of a comeback. I should be ashamed of myself,... View More

    — Posted by mxteam44

    That's OK with me. Not many can speak the truth on here anyway. You just did it. I usually just speak it out regarding VT. Roy did a helleva job in the 2nd half. Who/whom knows how things work? They made one of the most dramatic come-backs that I've seen since Dean Smith pulled his magic. 1-2 more minutes would have shocked Butler. UNC needed intensity earlier. That's all.

  • mxteam44 Nov 20, 10:46 p.m.

    AS A DUKE FAN I DON'T KNOW HOW IT FEELS TO GET BEAT BY BUTLER!!!YOU MUST FEEL LIKE A WORE OUT... View More

    — Posted by Demwhiteboyscanplay

    "Caps Lock" over on the right-hand side of the keyboard. Look into it!

    — Posted by mxteam44

    My Caps Lock button is on the left-hand side. ;)

    — Posted by slayerhil

    Well then, go to CompUSA and get you a good one!

  • plansguy Nov 20, 10:45 p.m.

    Well, all I've I got to say about that is "Lehigh!!!" Hee, hee, hee...

    — Posted by plansguy

    I'm sorry, did you say Weber State?

    — Posted by Voice of Reason 23

    WOW can we go back a few hundred years..lmao and remind you how far that Weber State team went 2... View More

    — Posted by ugottabkiddinme

    Weber State lost the next game to Florida. That's how "far that Weber State team... View More

    — Posted by Voice of Reason 23

    Well, as a voice of reason, I like to say, Lehigh, Lehigh, Lehigh!!! Hee, hee, hee...

  • mxteam44 Nov 20, 10:43 p.m.

    UNC played one heckeva 2nd half. Down by 29, and still fought back. They didn't give it up... View More

    — Posted by Sauras69

    Maybe a heckuva last 5-6 minutes..not the whole second half...and who cares if they ALMOST... View More

    — Posted by anderson

    "Almost" actually does mean something with a young team like we have this year. They could have hung their heads and lost by 40, but they didn't! They scrapped back and got it down to 6 with just over a minute to play. I'd much rather have guys that don't throw in the towel and give it everything they've got, than to have guys that just wave the white flag at half time. I think, even though we lost, these kids showed alot of heart in the 2nd half tonight.

  • DeathRow-IFeelYourPain-NOT Nov 20, 10:41 p.m.

    Its really funny to hear State and Duke fans dwell in the joy of this Heels loss. State got punked a couple of days ago. And Duke still obviously lives and dies by the 3. They will die multiple times this season as the 3 takes a leave of absense at times. The Heels are doing just fine... thank you. They will still be a top 3 ACC team. Maryland may also be a Top 3 ACC team. So which is it? Duke or State that falls below 3 this season? One will. Count on it. Either State has a mid-season mental breakdown, or the 3 takes an extended vacation on Duke. The Heels are still stable with their inside/outside game. Who knows, the Heels might get lucky like Duke when they played Butler in the Championship. Duke had a horrible team that season and lucked into the Championship game when all of the better teams had bad outings during the Tourney.

  • Voice of Reason 23 Nov 20, 10:41 p.m.

    AS A DUKE FAN I DON'T KNOW HOW IT FEELS TO GET BEAT BY BUTLER!!!YOU MUST FEEL LIKE A WORE OUT... View More

    — Posted by Demwhiteboyscanplay

    Well, all I've I got to say about that is "Lehigh!!!" Hee, hee, hee...

    — Posted by plansguy

    I'm sorry, did you say Weber State?

    — Posted by Voice of Reason 23

    WOW can we go back a few hundred years..lmao and remind you how far that Weber State team went 2... View More

    — Posted by ugottabkiddinme

    Weber State lost the next game to Florida. That's how "far that Weber State team went."

  • TsKaMF Nov 20, 10:40 p.m.

    AS A DUKE FAN I DON'T KNOW HOW IT FEELS TO GET BEAT BY BUTLER!!!YOU MUST FEEL LIKE A WORE OUT... View More

    — Posted by Demwhiteboyscanplay

    "Caps Lock" over on the right-hand side of the keyboard. Look into it!

    — Posted by mxteam44

    My Caps Lock button is on the left-hand side. ;)

    — Posted by slayerhil

    YEP.

  • Sauras69 Nov 20, 10:39 p.m.

    UNC played one heckeva 2nd half. Down by 29, and still fought back. They didn't give it up... View More

    — Posted by Sauras69

    Maybe a heckuva last 5-6 minutes..not the whole second half...and who cares if they ALMOST... View More

    — Posted by anderson

    The team showed courage and they learned tonight. Roy and his coaches know now much better as how to plan and practice from this point onward. This is a learning experience for UNC. They are heavily talented. Roy coached his best of all time in the Second half.

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