The North Carolina Tar Heels won a close battle in Chapel Hill Saturday 75-71 over the Pitt Panthers. Pittsburgh played UNC for the first time as a part of the ACC and fell by four points to the streaking Tar Heels. UNC is now 7-4 in the ACC and 17-7 overall in the 2013-2014 campaign. This game was also UNC’s fourth win against a ranked opponent. The Heels play FSU in Florida on Monday night, then host Duke and Wake Forest later in that week.
UNC came out on fire fueled by a crazy crowd of Tar Heel fans who witnessed the teams best performance since the Kentucky win on December 14th. The game was close for the entire first half, but UNC took the lead at the break 35-31. In the second half, UNC fought off furious rallies by Pittsburgh to tie the game to come away with the huge moral booster and victory for the team and Tar Heel nation. It was Brice Johnson on the free throw line with under 10 seconds remaining that secured the victory and the four point win.
James Michael McAdoo led the Heels in points with 24 on 11-18 shooting. McAdoo also had 12 boards and seven offensive rebounds in one of his most dominant performances of his career. Marcus Paige chipped in 18 points and four boards, steals and assists. As a team, the Heels shot 44.3% from the field and 42.9% from three. UNC also survived a horrific 8-15 performance from the line in the second half to pull out the victory.
Pacing the Panthers was forward Lamar Patterson, who had 16 points on the afternoon. Fellow forward Jamal Artis packed a punch off the bench with 13 points and seven rebounds. It was the second disappointing loss in a row for the Panthers, who also lost on a last second three pointer to Syracuse earlier in the week.
Overall, it was a great win for the Tar Heels. UNC is now solidly off the bubble and approaching Top-25 territory after the win. The Heels have a tough stretch ahead, however, as they play Duke twice, at NC State, and home against Notre Dame to finish out ACC play.