Mar 3, 2014; Chapel Hill, NC, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish guard Eric Atkins (0) shoots the last shot attempt of the game as North Carolina Tar Heels forward James Michael McAdoo (43) and guard Marcus Paige (5) defend. The Tar Heels defeated the Fighting Irish 63-61 at Dean E. Smith Student Activities Center. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

North Carolina survives 63-61 over Notre Dame

The North Carolina Tar Heels came away with the close win on Monday night over the Notre Dame Fighting Irish to improve to 23-7 on the season. The Heels are now 13-4 in the ACC and ride a long winning streak into this Saturday’s match-up against Duke. Notre Dame fell to 15-16 on the season and 6-12 in the ACC. That was the final game on the ACC schedule for the Irish, while Carolina only has the away game against Duke left in the regular season.

UNC took a big lead at halftime, 41-27, behind a strong team performance and solid defense. But early in the second half, the Irish climbed back into the game behind the strong shooting of guards Steve Vasturia and Eric Atkins. The game was close all the way down the stretch, and a block by Marcus Paige sealed the win for the Heels.

North Carolina shot 25 of 54 from the field for 46.3% and 3-12 from the line. Once again, the Heels struggled from the free throw line, shooting 10-22 on the evening. James Michael McAdoo led all Carolina scorers with 14 points, and J.P. Tokoto chipped in 11 points. Senior guard Wade Moody, a walk-on reserve for the Tar Heels, added some excitement early on in the contest with a three pointer on his senior night.

For the Irish, it was a rough shooting night from the three point and free throw lines. ND shot 25-52 from the floor but just 6-19 from three and 5-12 from the charity stripe. Leading Notre Dame in scoring was Eric Atkins with 21 points. However, ND got just 3 points from its bench shorthanded by injuries. The leading rebounder for Notre Dame was Pat Connaughton, who had 17 points and 13 boards.

It was a close win for the Tar Heels and a great way to close out the season at home. Now all that awaits is the big match-up in Cameron Indoor between the Tar Heels and rival Duke. UNC has taken care of business the last few games, winning lots of close ones, but they have to rest, refocus, and prepare for possibly their toughest game of the season the rest of this week.

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Tags: Basketball Chapel Hill Dean Smith Center North Carolina Tar Heels

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