ACC Basketball: South Carolina impressed with Heels after rout
Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 26, 2011
LAS VEGAS ó South Carolina was overwhelmed by top-ranked North Carolina from the start.
The Gamecocks fell behind by 15 points early and never recovered in an 87-62 loss to the Tar Heels in the third round of the Las Vegas Invitational on Friday night.
ěTheyíre really talented,î South Carolina coach Darrin Horn said of the Tar Heels. ěTheyíre long and athletic. They have a great scorer in Barnes and Marshall dishes a great game.î
RJ Slawson led South Carolina (2-3) with career highs of 13 points and 14 rebounds, and had four blocks. Daimen Leonard and Malik Cooke each had 12 points, and Anthony Gill added 10 points and six rebounds.
The Gamecocks had 25 turnovers to only 10 for North Carolina.
ěThe story was turnovers,î Horn said. ěItís plain and simple.î
North Carolina never trailed, jumping out to a 19-4 lead. The Tar Heels made it 27-10, with P.J. Hairston scoring those next eight points.
ěWeíre pleased to have the win,î Tar Heels coach Roy Williams said. ěWe didnít play exceptionally well. Give South Carolina credit. They kept coming. Early, it was a 15-point game. But they kept coming back and making plays that made us uncomfortable. I was never worried about the outcome of the game. I was just concerned about how we played. Our defense forced them into 17 turnovers in the first half.î
North Carolinaís Kendall Marshall scored just four points, but had 14 assists and six steals with only one turnover.
ěKendall, I thought was sensational,î North Carolina coach Roy Williams said. ěThose are the kinds of stats that really important to our team.î
Harrison Barnes had 21 points and five rebounds, and Hairston had 19 to lead North Carolina (5-0), who will face will face UNLV (6-0) in the championship game Saturday night.
John Henson had 18 points and eight rebounds, and Tyler Zeller added 12 points and five rebounds for the Tar Heels, who outscored the Gamecocks in fast-break points, 16-0.
ěWe were energetic and we got out to where we wanted to be,î Williams said. ěI think they were shell-shocked a little bit.î
South Carolina never got the lead below 11 points in the second half, and the Tar Heels extended the advantage to 27 in the final minute.
The game was the first meeting between the teams since Dec. 7, 1996. About 3,000 North Carolina fans attended the game at the 8,000-seat arena.
PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas ó Florida State’s Bernard James thought the Seminoles were headed for a victory when Connecticut freshman Ryan Boatwright went to the line needing to make three free throws to tie the game with seven seconds left.
“I was surprised he even got fouled,” James said. “The refs don’t usually make a call like that with the game on the line. I figured he’d miss at least one.”
So much for that theory.
Boatwright made all three of those foul shots to send the game to overtime and Shabazz Napier had 26 points, leading No. 4 Connecticut to a 78-76 victory over No. 22 Florida State 78-76 in the consolation game of the Battle 4 Atlantis on Saturday.
Michael Snaer scored 20 points for FSU (5-2). Deividas Dulkys had 14, and James finished with 11 points.