• 39°

ACC Tournament: Carolina closes strong against BC

The Associated Press

GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina’s players were in no mood for a repeat of last year’s brief stay at the Atlantic Coast Conference, and they didn’t want to watch Boston College’s Olivier Hanlan have another big game against them.

Instead, the No. 19 Tar Heels slowed Hanlan and led most of the day to beat the Eagles 81-63 on Wednesday in the second round of the tournament, a much better debut in Greensboro than the one-and-done exit of a year earlier.

“Coach (Roy Williams) didn’t talk about it a lot but I brought it up today as we coming to the gym, that we lost the first day we played last year,” junior Marcus Paige said. “That it was bad and we went straight back home. I was telling the guys, ‘You don’t want that feeling.’”

Paige and Brice Johnson each scored 17 points to lead the fifth-seeded Tar Heels (22-10), who played without forward Kennedy Meeks. UNC had trouble putting away the 12th-seeded Eagles (13-19) for much of the second half, but pulled away late and won its seventh straight meeting to set up a matchup with No. 14 Louisville.

Among the biggest keys for that success: making Hanlan — an all-ACC guard who scored 30 in the only regular-season meeting between the teams — work for his points.

Hanlan scored 18 points, but went just 5 for 19 from the field, including 1 for 5 from 3-point range. The Tar Heels rotated several defenders, though Williams credited J.P. Tokoto’s work on him in particular.

“He’s big time, a big-time player, and our goal was to try to make sure he didn’t shoot a great percentage,” Williams said.

Hanlan missed 12 of his first 14 shots.

UNC led by 13 at half and never by fewer than eight from there, shaking off a cold start to the half and finishing at 52 percent shooting after the break.

TIP-INS

Boston College: Aaron Brown scored 20 points to lead BC. … The Eagles shot 40 percent, including 6 for 21 from 3-point range. … Hanlan wouldn’t comment on whether he would return for his senior season.

UNC: Freshman Justin Jackson added 12 points, including two 3-pointers. … UNC took a 43-25 rebounding advantage and scored 19 second-chance points. … Joel James started for Meeks and finished with six points and three rebounds. … Williams earned his 746th career win, moving into a tie for 15th in NCAA history former Kansas coach Phog Allen.

HEALTHY PAIGE

Paige again looked healthier after battling a foot injury and had playing through pain since at least January, finishing with nine assists, six rebounds and two steals.

UNC’S INJURIES

Meeks has an illness that includes a fever, keeping him sidelined for two recent practices. Williams said he doesn’t expect Meeks to play, while Meeks said he felt close and “hopefully” could play Thursday.

In addition, UNC also played without freshman guard Theo Pinson, who was a game-time decision due to a sore left foot. He had recently returned from a monthlong absence after breaking that foot in January. Pinson was noncommittal about his status, saying he is going to “go day by day.”

Comments

News

Facing personnel deficiencies, local fire departments request tax rate increases

Local

‘Panic buying’ creates gas supply shortages locally, statewide after pipeline cyberattack

Business

Twice as nice: Planet Smoothie opens alongside Cold Stone Creamery in co-branded store

Local

Spencer board gets update on South Iredell rat problem

Education

West Rowan teacher awarded $15,000 outdoor learning grant

Cleveland

Town of Cleveland plans celebration May 22

High School

High school girls tennis: Busy Hornets win again easily

High School

High school softball: Nixon, Walton top all-county team

Education

All Hood Alumni and Friends Symposium scheduled June 18

Education

Shoutouts: Southern City Church awards educational gifts

Local

City to pave streets surrounding Bell Tower Green after park is constructed

Nation/World

Colonial Pipeline restarts operations days after major hack

Nation/World

Ohio’s million-dollar idea: Lottery prizes for vaccinations

Nation/World

GOP dumps defiant Trump critic Cheney from top House post

Nation/World

Israel steps up Gaza offensive, kills senior Hamas figures

Coronavirus

Fluctuating COVID-19 death number back to 302 in Rowan County

Crime

Habitual felon sentenced to at least 8 years in prison

Kannapolis

City of Kannapolis to have bike rodeo Saturday

Crime

Two more charged for operating illegal gambling businesses

Education

A.L. Brown celebrates seniors with signing day

Business

Rebounding, but not recovered: Rowan County tourism begins challenging path toward normalcy

High School

High school baseball: Padgett leads Mustangs; 100th win for West coach Graham

Coronavirus

RSS superintendent, Board of Health discuss strategies for increasing student vaccination rates

Education

East Spencer charter school files petition to contest charter revocation