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CHAPEL HILL, NC (AP) — North Carolina has beaten three highly ranked teams, lost to three unranked ones and played through uncertainty about the status of two players during an eventful non-conference schedule.
Now the 19th-ranked Tar Heels can focus on the start of Atlantic Coast Conference play.
James Michael McAdoo had 23 points and 10 rebounds to help North Carolina beat UNC Wilmington 84-51 on Tuesday night to become the third program to reach 2,100 victories.
Marcus Paige scored 12 of his 15 points in the second half to help the Tar Heels (10-3) shake free from a slow start and blow open the game. North Carolina shot 63 percent in the second half to join Kentucky and Kansas as the only programs with 2,100 victories heading into Sunday’s ACC opener at Wake Forest.
“I think this team understands that we’ve got to play better every day and work harder, and I think they’re doing that,” UNC coach Roy Williams said. “… No coach is ever going to say that they’re satisfied with where they stand unless you’re 13-0 and beating everybody by a million.”
The Tar Heels have beaten then-No. 1 Michigan State, then-No. 3 Louisville and preseason No. 1 Kentucky so far this season. They have lost at home to Belmont and Texas, and at UAB.
At the minimum, the Tar Heels built some momentum with better second-half play against the Seahawks (6-9) that included better defensive intensity, getting out in transition and plenty of dunks to turn the game into a rout.
The Tar Heels were coming off a lackluster showing Friday in a victory over Northern Kentucky, a performance that irked Williams so much that he said he wanted to make his team run sprints during halftime.
UNC didn’t look sharp early against UNCW and led just 31-23 at halftime despite the Seahawks struggling badly with their shooting.
Paige said some of the first-half problems from Tuesday—not getting good shots, turning the ball over, not moving the ball enough—are “easy fixes” as opposed to not playing with enough effort.
“We were playing hard, we were getting to the right spots defensively and it wasn’t a matter of this team wants it more than us,” Paige said. “So that was the biggest thing we needed to address, and I think we addressed that.
“Now the Xs and Os, the turnovers, the sloppiness, the failure to get the shot everybody wants, that can be fixed a lot easier.”
It marked the third time in the past five decades that UNC has hosted a game on New Year’s Eve, though there were plenty of empty seats with the afternoon tipoff time and students still on Christmas break.
Students standing on the risers behind one of the baskets wore party hats, while the Tar Heels wore their road blue uniforms at home for only the second time in program history—the other was in 1990—to make it feel a bit more like a special event.
The Tar Heels at least treated the crowd to a dominating second-half performance, outscoring the Seahawks 53-28 with eight dunks.
Cedrick Williams had 18 points and nine rebounds for the Seahawks, who are coached by former UNC player Buzz Peterson. UNCW lost its fourth straight and fell to 1-24 against ranked opponents heading into its Colonial Athletic Association opener against James Madison.
The Seahawks shot 31 percent, going 9 for 36 (25 percent) in the opening 20 minutes and missing 14 of 17 3-point tries. UNCW had 17 turnovers that North Carolina converted into 25 points.
UNCW missed its first 13 shots and 18 of 19 to start the game.
“We haven’t shot the ball all year well, but sometimes you start missing like that and you start pressing a little bit more and that goal gets tighter and tighter,” Peterson said.
The game marked a homecoming for Peterson, a player on Dean Smith’s first NCAA championship team in 1982 and Michael Jordan’s college roommate. He coached Appalachian State here twice in the late 1990s but hadn’t returned to the visiting sideline since.
The Tar Heels played their third straight game without sophomore center Joel James due to a knee injury.
UNCW UNC photo on homepage courtesy Chris Couch
WILMINGTON, NC (UNCW) — Appalachian State used a 14-2 run midway through the second half to regain the lead and held off a late UNCW spurt to record a 54-47 victory in collegiate women’s basketball action on Tuesday at Trask Coliseum.
The Mountaineers improved to 3-8 on the season while the Seahawks moved to 1-12 overall as they suffered their ninth straight setback.
Sophomore Keke Cooper tallied 14 points and junior Katie Mallow added 13 to power an Appalachian State attack that shot 43.8 percent (21-of-48) for the contest. Junior Maryah Sydnor, who came into the contest averaging a team-high 21.1 points per contest, joined the duo in double figures as she was limited to a season-low 10 points. Cooper pulled down a team-high eight rebounds while Sydnor and freshman Mia Marshall added seven each as the Mountaineers enjoyed a 43-26 margin on the glass.
Junior Kelva Atkins tallied 18 points to pace UNCW, who shot 35.7 percent (20-of-56) for the contest, highlighted by a 46.4 percent (13-of-28) effort in the second half. Atkins was the only player to reach double figures as freshman Naqaiyyah Teague and Brie Mobley tallied eight points each.
Moments after a layup by freshman D’Asia Cain at the 8:31 mark gave UNCW a 38-36 advantage, a pair of 3-pointers from Mallow sandwiched around a layup by Cooper sent ASU on a 14-2 run that gave the Mountaineers a 50-40 lead with 5:12 remaining.
The Seahawks attempted one last push, using a 3-pointer from Atkins and back-to-back layups from Mobley and freshman Ryan Flowers to pull within three, 50-47, with just over two minutes remaining, but a layup by Cooper and a pair of free throws from sophomore Farrah Wood in the final 10 seconds gave the Mountaineers the seven-point victory.
In the first half, Appalachian State went inside early as it opened the contest on a 13-4 run, knocking down five of its six field goal attempts from inside the paint to build a quick nine-point advantage.
A trio of layups by Atkins brought the Mountaineers’ opening run to a close and ignited an 11-0 spurt that lasted 5:19 and gave the Seahawks their first lead of the game, 15-13. The Seahawks turned up defensive pressure during the spurt, forcing Appalachian State into 11 turnovers and eight missed field goals in that span.
Appalachian State answered the Seahawks’ spurt, scoring the final 11 points of the frame to take a 24-15 lead into intermission.
ASU would expand its lead to as many as 12 early in the second half before a layup by Atkins at the 12:16 mark started a 16-2 stretch that gave the Seahawks a 38-36 edge and set up the Mountaineers late-game spurt.
UNCW returns to action Friday as it closes out the non-conference portion of its schedule with a noon contest at Charlotte. ASU is back on the floor Jan. 4 with a 1 p.m. contest at Furman.
High School Basketball – Tuesday
Wilmington Christian 19
Alamance Christian 39 (Trask tourney champs)
Wilmington Christian 59
Bethel Christian 46
Trask 69 (Trask tourney champs)
Alamance Christian 49
ATLANTA (AP) – Johnny Manziel threw four touchdown passes, and Toney Hurd Jr. returned an interception 55 yards for the go-ahead touchdown in Texas A&M’s 52-48 victory over Duke on Tuesday night in the Chick-fil-A Bowl.
Manziel, playing in what might be his final college game, completed 30 of 38 passes for 382 yards and ran for 73 yards and a touchdown. Hurd’s interception return gave the No. 20 Aggies (9-4) their first lead with 3:33 remaining.
No. 22 Duke (10-4) led 38-17 at halftime and 41-31 entering the fourth quarter. The Blue Devils couldn’t hold off the comeback and are still looking for their first bowl win since beating Arkansas 7-6 in the 1961 Cotton Bowl.
Hurd stepped in front of receiver Johnell Barnes for the interception, the first turnover for either team. Texas A&M linebacker Nate Askew ended Duke’s next possession with another interception.
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