Bouncing back: Tar Heels get home win over Irish

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 16, 2019

By Joedy McCreary

AP Sports Writer

CHAPEL HILL (AP) — Once Nassir Little got rolling, No. 13 North Carolina didn’t have to worry much about yet another home loss.

Little scored all 11 of his points in the final 11 minutes, and the Tar Heels beat Notre Dame 75-69 on Tuesday night.

“It was just a matter of time,” Little said. “Everybody was just waiting for me to do what I do, to help the team be as good as we can be.”

Coby White had 17 points while Luke Maye added 14 points and 10 rebounds and Cameron Johnson finished with 11 points for the Tar Heels (13-4, 3-1 Atlantic Coast Conference). UNC used a late 12-1 run to bounce back from its most lopsided home loss under Hall of Fame coach Roy Williams.

“I got my wish — I wanted to win one ugly,” Williams said.

Prentiss Hubb scored 18 points, John Mooney had 16 points and 19 rebounds, and D.J. Harvey added 15 points for the Fighting Irish (11-6, 1-3). Hubb put Notre Dame up 58-57 with a layup with just under seven minutes remaining, but the Irish missed their next six shots while North Carolina took control.

“Everything was just right for us,” coach Mike Brey said. “We just needed a few more plays, and we probably needed another scorer.”

White started the key run with a 3-pointer with the shot clock winding down with 6½ minutes to play, and Little, a freshman, ended it with a twisting layup on the break that gave the Tar Heels their first double-figure lead, 69-59, with less than 90 seconds left.

The Irish didn’t get closer than seven until Hubb’s 3 with 4.7 seconds left made it 73-69.

BIG PICTURE

Notre Dame: The Fighting Irish have lost three of four to begin conference play and haven’t cracked the 70s in scoring in any of those games. They aren’t afraid to pull the trigger from 3-point range — no team in the ACC has taken more of them this season, and roughly half their shots in this one were from beyond the arc — but they didn’t quite hit enough of them to pull off the upset: Notre Dame was just 4 of 15 from long range in the second half.

North Carolina: The Tar Heels will hear less about that embarrassing 83-62 loss to Louisville. They also haven’t lost three straight home ACC games in nearly a decade. Perhaps the most encouraging sign: They had only two turnovers in the second half.

STAR WATCH

T.J. Gibbs, who averages a team-best 18.5 points for Notre Dame, was held to five points on 1-of-9 shooting in his return after an illness that forced him to miss a game for the first time in his career. “My trainer said, ‘You can’t play him as usual, 35 minutes, because he’s ill,’” Brey said. “And then I played him 35 minutes, because he was our only option. … We need to kind of get him back to 100 percent by Saturday.”

PLAY OF THE NIGHT

Seventh Woods earned some hustle points for his blocked shot that brought the crowd to its feet with about 12 minutes left. Nate Laszewski was headed for an easy open-court dunk after stealing the ball from Johnson. But Woods raced in to block the attempt at the rim.

UP NEXT

Notre Dame: Plays host to N.C. State on Saturday.

North Carolina: Visits Miami on Saturday.

•••

MARTIN’S 3 LIFTS NO. 10 NEVADA OVER BOISE STATE, 72-71

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Cody Martin hit a 3-pointer with 4.5 seconds remaining to help No. 10 Nevada beat Boise State 72-71 on Tuesday night.

Boise State (8-9, 3-1) had a chance to win it but Justinian Jessup’s long 3-point heave at the buzzer fell short.

Nevada seemed to have the game on cruise control early in the second half, never allowing the Broncos to get any closer than seven points, but the Wolf Pack (17-1, 4-1) remained in constant foul trouble. Starters Trey Porter and Caleb Martin were on the bench with four fouls with just over nine minutes remaining in the game.

Boise State took its first lead of the second half at 69-68 with 2:10 remaining on two free throws by Alex Hobbs. Cody Martin then tied the game hitting one of two from the line with 1:52 left. Hobbs then answered with a layup 10 seconds later to give the Broncos a 71-69 advantage. Nevada, however, turned up its defensive intensity and stifled two subsequent Boise State possessions, setting up Martin’s game winner.

Cody Martin finished with 16 points for Nevada, while Jordan Caroline added 15 and grabbed 13 rebounds.

Hobbs and Jessup paced Boise State with 19 and 17 points, respectively.

BIG PICTURE

Nevada: The Wolf Pack knocked off a Mountain West co-leader for the second straight game on the road as they continue to right the ship after a 27-point loss on the road to New Mexico earlier this month. The hard-fought victory over the Broncos also serves as further proof that Nevada remains the team to beat in the conference.

Boise State: The Broncos continue to search for the consistency they need to prove they are serious contenders in the conference this season. Long spells of poor shooting and lackadaisical defense have doomed Boise State this season against stronger competition. And if the Broncos have any aspirations of making noise in the Mountain West, they need to find a better rhythm and quickly.

UP NEXT

Nevada returns home to host Air Force on Saturday.

Boise State hosts Fresno State on Saturday.

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