North Carolina’s quest for a second straight national championship began with a 84-66 win over Lipscomb in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday afternoon in Charlotte, N.C.
The second-seeded Tar Heels struggled to put the Bisons, a No. 15 seed, away in the first half as the two teams were tied at 33 with just under 4 minutes to go in the opening frame. North Carolina, though, closed out the half with a 10-1 run to take a 43-34 lead into the locker room.
After the Bisons drew to within 50-42 with a little over 3 minutes played in the second half, things were a little more comfortable for the Tar Heels as they opened up a double-digit advantage and maintained it for the remainder of the contest.
All five of North Carolina’s starters scored double digits, with Kenny Williams leading the way with 18 points on 6-of-8 shooting. Despite a large rebounding margin (47-29), the Tar Heels turned the ball over 18 times. But they held Lipscomb to 35.9 percent shooting to advance to the second round.
The Tar Heels move on face Texas A&M on Sunday. The winner of that game heads to the Sweet 16.
Here’s what Roy Williams had to say after Friday’s victory:
On how his team performed on the day: “We didn’t play our best. Lipscomb was more active than we were early. We had I think five turnovers in the first eight minutes and they had more points off turnovers at half and ended up with more points off turnovers than we did.
“I think late in the first half, I yelled at them in the huddle and they tried to show me how dumb I was and they went out and played very well the last four minutes and got us a little bit of a margin and then just kept playing and making plays.”
On Williams’ showing: “Well, he has had some good games. He’s had a pretty doggone good year. I think he’s one of the five best defensive players in our league. He led our team in charges, he’s really good defensively. Today, he picked up the two early fouls but he made two 3s, but he’s had a pretty doggone good year all year.”
On Joel Berry II passing Michael Jordan on North Carolina’s all-time scoring list : “I’m sure every kid, you know, you say something like that, I start grinning. I mean, my gosh, but the 23 was pretty good. Having that extra year probably would have helped him, too. But you still, you’re ahead of Michael Jordan in something. Lot of guys aren’t ahead of Michael Jordan in anything. I’m happy for Joel.”
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