LAHAINA, Hawaii (AP) -- North Carolina took care of Tennessee
early to earn yet another appearance in a Maui Invitational
Rashad McCants scored 27 points and North Carolina (2-1) shot 65
percent in the first half on the way to a 94-81 victory Tuesday
The Tar Heels (No. 12 ESPN/USA Today, No. 11 AP) will play Iowa in the
championship game Wednesday. Iowa beat Texas (No. 13 ESPN/USA Today, No. 15 AP) 82-80 on
"The two games I've seen Iowa play they've been sensational,"
North Carolina coach Roy Williams said. "They have very
competitive kids and we have to be just as competitive."
This is North Carolina's fourth appearance in the Maui
Invitational, which is sponsored by EA Sports, and the Tar Heels
have always reached the title game. They won it in 1999 and
finished second in 1989 and 1995.
They ensured their trip to the final game this time by shooting
65.4 percent from the field (17-for-26) in taking a 51-31 halftime
Just as in the 86-50 opening-round win over Brigham Young, North
Carolina played impressive defense early, holding the Volunteers
(1-1) to 36.7 percent shooting (11-for-30) in the opening half.
"In the first half we did a great job on defense and that's
what got us going," said Sean May, who had nine points and 13
rebounds. "Sometimes defense can take over the game. We let down a
little bit in the second half and we have to get over that and
finish a game for 40 minutes."
Raymond Felton, who missed the Tar Heels' season-opening loss to
Santa Clara because of a one-game suspension for playing in an
unsanctioned summer league, had nine points and nine assists. As
they did against BYU, the Tar Heels looked very comfortable with
Felton back at point guard.
"I just rode my teammates' energy," McCants said. "They gave
me the ball in the right position to score and everything else took
care of itself."
North Carolina shot 58.8 percent for the game (30-for-51).
McCants then hit his third 3-pointer of the game and Marvin
Williams scored down low to get the lead back to 18 points.
"In the second half we were a little more lackadaisical than I
would have liked but they were aggressive in the second half," Roy
Williams said. "But I'll tell you, we were pretty doggone good in
the first half."
Jawad Williams had 21 points for North Carolina.
"Their pressure got to us a little bit and we took some quick
shots, and pressure will do that," Tennessee coach Buzz Peterson
said. "Carolina defends and they have weapons and depth and when
McCants gets it going there aren't many players that talented in
"We could have hung our heads down 20 in the first half, but
they kept on fighting. We have to get the ball inside for
higher-percentage shots and we ran our offense more that way in the
The loss dropped Peterson to 0-3 against his alma mater. The
Volunteers beat Stanford 69-57 in the opening round.