UNC fights Villanova comeback to earn win
Posted March 22, 2013
Kansas City, Mo. — FINAL: Carolina 78, Villanova 71: Carolina 78, Villanova 71: Battling back down the stretch, the Tar Heels survived the Wildcat comeback attempt to take the win in Kansas City in their first NCAA matchup.
P.J. Hairston led the team with 23 points. McAdoo (17), Bullock (15) and Paige (14) also assisted in scoring for the Heels.
3:03 2nd: Carolina 67, Villanova 59: Carolina has managed to build back the lead through the second half. They have compensated for a lack of rebounding by sharing the ball and collecting 16 team assists.
P.J. Hairston now has 19 points for the Heels. McAdoo has 17 and Bullock has 14.
12:06 2nd: Carolina 47, Villanova 45: The two teams are trading leads heading into the final stretch of the game. Reggie Bullock has just hit the go-ahead 3-pointer for the Heels.
Villanova continues to crash the boards, and they have 23 rebounds to Carolina's 10. JayVaughn Pinkson has a game-high 16 points for the Wildcats. Bullock and McAdoo each have 11, and Hairston has 10.
15:52 2nd: Carolina 40, Villanova 40: The Wildcats have battled back from a 20-point deficit to tie the game against the Heels. Their scoring has picked up and they are dominating the rebounding category.
Halftime: Carolina 37, Villanova 29: The Villanova Wildcats closed the half on a 12-2 scoring run to cut the deficit to single-digits, but the Tar Heels still lead 37-29 at the half.
McAdoo and Hairston have 10 points apiece for Carolina. The Heels and Wildcats are shooting an equal 50% from the field.
3:31 1st: Carolina 35, Villanova 21: Carolina is continuing to roll in the first NCAA matchup. McAdoo has 10 points and Hairston has 8 for the Heels. The team is running the court and playing too fast for Villanova to guard.
8:14 1st: Carolina 28, Villanova 11: The Tar Heels are riding a 13-0 run on the way to a 28-11 lead midway through the 1st half.
The Tar Heels are playing with a balanced scoring attack. They have 8 points from Hairston, 6 from McAdoo and Bullock, 5 from Paige, and 3 from Leslie McDonald.
12:47 1st: Carolina 12, Villanova 8: North Carolina has turned the ball over four times already, but maintain a lead thanks to four points from McAdoo and 3-pointers from Hairston and Bullock. Paige added two for the Tar Heels.
Villanova is shooting just 36% from the field to start the game.
20:00 1st: The Tar Heels and Wildcats are minutes from tip-off in Kansas City. UNC will start the typical lineup of Marcus Paige, Dexter Strickland, Reggie Bullock, P.J. Hairston, and James Michael McAdoo.
A pair of teams that received at-large bids square off in the second round of the 2013 NCAA Tournament at the Sprint Center on Friday night, as the ninth-seeded Villanova Wildcats tangle with the eighth-seeded North Carolina Tar Heels.
The survivor of this South Region matchup will advance to Sunday's third round to take on the winner of the Kansas-Western Kentucky encounter.
Villanova dropped its quarterfinal-round matchup in the Big East Conference Tournament to eventual-champion Louisville (74-55), but it nonetheless earned its keep in arguably the nation's toughest league this season with a 20-13 overall record and signature wins over Georgetown, Marquette, Syracuse and Louisville, all of which impressed the NCAA Tournament selection committee.
The Wildcats have made 33 appearances in the Big Dance, including seven in nine years under current head coach Jay Wright, highlighted by a Final Four run in 2009.Villanova won its only national title back in 1985.
For North Carolina's incredibly high standards, it got off to a rather sluggish start as it sat at 10-5 in mid-January, but the team got its act together down the stretch with wins in eight of nine games before falling to Miami-Florida in the ACC Tournament championship game, 87-77.
In addition to piecing together a strong campaign, the Tar Heels also have an incredible pedigree on their side, as they rank among the all-time leaders in NCAA Tournament appearance (44), wins (108), winning percentage (.725), Final Fours (18) and national titles (five). In a tournament so predicated on strong coaching, UNC has one of the best in Roy Williams, who is making his 23rd appearance.
These two teams most recently met in the 2009 Final Four, with the Tar Heels downing the Wildcats, 83-69. UNC leads the all-time series, 10-4.
Despite its impressive season, Villanova's team statistics are modest at best, as it nets 67.8 ppg while surrendering 64.7 ppg, although the Wildcats have been strong on the glass (+3.0 rebounding margin) and they possess a stellar field goal percentage defense (.402). Serving as the team's top scoring threat is JayVaughn Pinkston, who pours in 13.1 ppg on 46 percent efficiency from the field.
Ryan Arcidiacono (12.0 ppg) has dropped in a team-best 70 3-pointers, although he has needed 209 attempts to get there (.331). Darrun Hilliard adds 11.2 ppg, while Mouphtaou Yarou mans the paint with 9.7 ppg and 7.8 rpg.
Although the Tar Heels are often vulnerable at the defensive end (69.1 ppg allowed), they are able to more than make up for it with one of the best offensive attacks in the country (77.2 ppg, 7.5 3-pointers per contest at a 37.4 percent clip).
James Michael McAdoo leads the way with 14.4 ppg to go with a team-high 7.4 rpg, while Reggie Bullock is hot on his heels with 14.3 ppg, doing so on 85-of-193 accuracy from beyond the arc (.440). P.J. Hairston makes it a trio of scorers capable of carrying UNC on any given night, netting 14.2 ppg on 38.6 percent from downtown.
Rounding out the balanced attack are a pair of outstanding passers in Dexter Strickland and Marcus Paige, who both score 8.0 ppg, and have combined to hand out 297 assists (9.0 pg).
Both of these teams have shown promise in spurts, yet ultimately haven't been able to get over the hump to join the national elite, which justifies their No. 8 and No. 9 seeds.
But while Villanova's resume' is reliant on a few outstanding wins over top-five teams, UNC has shown more consistency overall, especially down the stretch.