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UNC 80, William & Mary 72

Tribe vs Tar Heels boxscore

It's safe to say Carmichael Auditorium hasn't seen a lot of three-pointers. The NCAA didn't adopt it until after the Heels had moved to the Smith Center, and although the ACC had adopted it for conference games a few years earlier, it wasn't as if Dean Smith teams were going to start shooting wildly. So it's safe to say Carmichael had never seen anything like William & Mary.

The Tribe's first seven shots were all threes. 21 of the 28 shots they took in the first half were from behind the arc. In the end, 43 of William & Mary's 62 shot were threes, and all but two of the rest were dunks or layups. They only made 16 of those threes, but that was enough to hold a lead as late as 2:34 remaining, and almost good enough to end Carolina's season.

Happily, UNC rediscovered their shot in the shooter-friendly gym as well, making the most shots since the first N.C. State game, led by seniors Thompson and Ginyard, who finished with 20 and 12 points. But what really made the difference was the way Carolina preyed on the Tribe's passing lanes. Six Tar Heel players combined for eleven steals, and although they only resulted in twelve points, that was more than enough to disrupt William & Mary's offense. (It was also good for the spectacle of seeing big men Tyler Zeller and Thompson swipe the ball from the top of the key and lumber down the court for baskets.) 

Carolina also baited William & Mary into pushing the tempo along side the Heels, which not only saved UNC on a couple of rushed Tribe shots, but left them pretty beat and missing shots by the end of the game. Fouling out their leading rebounder Marcus Kitts helped there as well. UNC also made their free throws down the stretch – 11 of the last 15 points the Heels scored came from the charity stripe – and took care of the ball. In doing so, they upheld the Carmichael tradition (UNC only has 4 nonconference losses there) and kept their season alive. They travel to Starksville to meet Mississippi State on Saturday for a noon game.