Friday, March 22, 2013
Rapid Reaction: UNC 78, Villanova 71
By Jason King
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- P.J. Hairston scored 23 points and James Michael McAdoo added 17 to propel North Carolina to a 78-71 victory over Villanova in the second round of the NCAA tournament at the Sprint Center. Friday's victory marked the 700th career win for Tar Heels coach Roy Williams, whose team advances to play either Kansas or Western Kentucky on Sunday for a berth in the Sweet 16.
North Carolina led by as many as 20 points in the first half, but let Villanova back into the game. The Wildcats took a 45-44 lead on a foul shot by JayVaughn Pinkston with 13:40 remaining, but Reggie Bullock responded with a 3-pointer on North Carolina's next possession. UNC would never trail again.
It took awhile for North Carolina to close out the game.
Villanova shaved the Tar Heels' lead to 54-50 on a layup by Mouphtaou Yarou with 8:31 left, but Hairston responded with a 3-pointer on the other end. Wildcats forward Darrun Hilliard countered with a basket to make it 57-52, but another 3-pointer by Bullock extended UNC's lead to 60-52.
Still, Villanova refused to go away. With 2:14 left, Pinkston pulled the Wildcats within a point, 67-66. A 3-pointer from Marcus Paige gave UNC a 70-66 advantage before Yarou struck back with a layup to make it a two-point game.
North Carolina refused to fold, however. The Tar Heels made their final seven field goal attempts en route to the victory.
Bullock added 15 points for the Tar Heels. Pinkston scored a team-high 20 for Villanova.
Turning point: UNC jumped out to a 72-68 lead on a pair of foul shots by Paige with 1:36 left. Villanova then missed its next three field goal attempts, and eventually the Tar Heels made the Wildcats pay. Hairston split a pair of free throws and then scored on a traditional three-point play to make it 76-68 with 42 ticks remaining. Ballgame.
Key player: North Carolina continues to get solid production from Hairston since the sophomore moved into the starting lineup. His 23 points came on 7-of-11 shooting, and he was 5-of-8 from 3-point range.
Key stat: North Carolina won despite being out-rebounded 35-23.
Next: North Carolina will play the Western Kentucky-Kansas winner Sunday. Williams coached at Kansas for 15 years before leaving after the 2002-03 season for North Carolina, his alma mater. He is 0-2 against Kansas, with both losses coming in the NCAA tournament.