UNC Basketball: Tar Heels outlast Irish for fourth straight win

CHAPEL HILL, NC - DECEMBER 20: Kenny Williams
CHAPEL HILL, NC - DECEMBER 20: Kenny Williams /

Shorthanded Irish toppled by streaking Tar Heels

Despite being the reigning national champions, the ACC did the Tar Heels no favors regarding their schedule.

North Carolina entered its second contest against Notre Dame this season, having just played high-energy games against Duke and NC State, marking its third game in five days.

The end result was a big win for the Tar Heels, who have now won four straight.

What did the Tar Heels do to get the 83-66 win against the Irish?

The Game

For the most part, the game was a lot closer than the final score. That was thanks to the work of two Notre Dame players.

In the first half, it was all about John Mooney. Mooney went 5-for-5 from behind the arc in the first half for 15 points. In most halves, that would be enough for the Irish to be up.

However, the Irish trailed by four because the rest of Notre Dame went 5-for-23 from the field, including 0-for-13 from Matt Farrell and TJ Gibbs Jr.

UNC also got 18 combined points from guards Joel Berry II and Kenny Williams in the first half of play.

In the second half, it was all about Martinas Gebben. Gebben sat out most of the first half in foul trouble, but came out in the second half on fire. Gebben had 14 of his 18 points in the second half. He also grabbed nine rebounds.

CHAPEL HILL, NC – FEBRUARY 12: Matt Farrell /

That allowed Notre Dame to keep it close, even though the rest of the team struggled. Gebben and Mooney combined for 36 points and 13 rebounds, while the rest of the Irish combined for 30 points and 16 rebounds.

However, after Notre Dame got it as close as four with just under six minutes to go, UNC took over. The Tar Heels finished the game on a 16-3 run to win the game. Berry continued his strong play, finishing with 21 points to lead the Tar Heels to their big win.

North Carolina also got 13 points from Cameron Johnson, who had a thunderous dunk for UNC in the second half.

Player of the Game

Theo Pinson. Pinson finished with another really solid line in the box score. The senior wing had another double-double, his third of the season, as he finished with 16 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists.

Notable Stat

52.2 percent. Notre Dame entered the game second in the ACC in free throw percentage, shooting 76.3 percent from behind the line. Tonight they went a combined 12-of-23 from the charity stripe for 52.2 percent.

None of those misses were bigger than the three Mooney missed with 6:49 remaining. At the time, the Irish trailed 63-59. Instead of being down by one, the Tar Heels took off and eventually turned that four point lead into double-digits as they went on to win by 17.

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Whats Next?

Up next for the Tar Heels is a road game at Louisville on Saturday. It’s part of three road contests in their final four games of the regular season, another one of those scheduling favors that the ACC failed to give the reigning national champions.