CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina shot only 41 percent, had 19 turnovers and failed to reach 100 points for the first time in four games. Coach Roy Williams described the effort as “ugly,” and most of his players concurred.

Imagine how Georgia Tech felt.

Jawad Williams led a balanced attack with 18 points, and the third-ranked Tar Heels rolled to another impressive victory, 91-69 over No. 8 Georgia Tech last night.

“Today wasn’t the prettiest game,’’ Roy Williams said. “It was one of those ugly games, where you’ve got to score more points than the other team.”

Marvin Williams had 14 points and Rashad McCants and Sean May each added 12 for North Carolina (3-0 ACC, 14-1 overall), which has won 14 straight since an opening loss to Santa Clara.

Point guard Raymond Felton was suspended for that game because he played in an nonsanctioned summer league game, and, with him on the court, the Tar Heels have had few challenges.

“I feel like I’m the leader of the team,” Felton said. “I feel like I’m the one that gets everybody going. I’m the floor general.”

The Yellow Jackets (2-1, 11-3) certainly didn’t provide much of a test. Playing without injured guard B.J. Elder for the third straight game, Georgia Tech led only at 1-0, quickly fell behind and never recovered. Jarrett Jack had 24 points and Luke Schenscher finished with 13.

“They’re an outstanding team, maybe the best team in the country,” Yellow Jackets coach Paul Hewitt said. “But we had some guys not play as well as they’re capable of playing. It’s one of those things.”

With one matchup against a top-10 opponent out of the way, North Carolina can turn its attention to Saturday’s game at No. 4 Wake Forest.

It will be the first meeting ever with both teams in the top five.

“I’m going to enjoy this one,” Roy Williams said. “Georgia Tech is a big-time freakin’ team.”

Felton and the other starters had plenty of help from the bench in this one, led by Marvin Williams. In the first half, the Tar Heels’ reserves outscored their counterparts 21-0, and it was much the same after the break until both coaches cleared the benches.

A 10-0 run that was capped by Felton’s 3-pointer put North Carolina ahead 17-5, its first double-digit lead of the game.

“We started off the first couple of possessions fine, but everybody knows you have to play the whole game,” Jack said. “That’s the one thing we didn’t do, we didn’t play hard for 40 minutes.”

The margin grew slowly after that, even while the Tar Heels continued to enjoy some highlight-reel moments.

The biggest ones probably came from McCants, who surprisingly played some stingy defense. Known mostly as a scorer, he finished with a career-high four blocks, three in the first half.

“We want to set the tone of the game with our defense,” McCants said.

He did that early, leaping high to block Will Bynum’s first shot of the game. Later, with the game all but decided, the 6-foot-4 McCants stuffed a dunk by 6-foot-9 Theodis Tarver, then celebrated by hopping across midcourt.

“I think it was more of just an instinct play,” McCants said. “I don’t like to let guys score on me, especially going to the goal like that.”

McCants’s effort symbolized the unselfishness the Tar Heels showed, a fact further illustrated by their passing. They had 24 assists on their 28 baskets, including 16 out of 17 in the first half.

Felton finished off the opening 20 minutes with the final one, drawing the defense to him before dishing to Melvin Scott on the wing. Scott swished a 3-pointer just before the buzzer to make it 46-28.

“That was big,” Scott said. “I had missed a couple of layups. I knew if Raymond got double-teamed, he would get the ball to me.”

 

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.