- Robbi Pickeral, College Basketball
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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – North Carolina hasn’t yet made the NCAA tournament field. Virginia hasn’t missed the cut.
But with less than a month left in the regular season, it’s going to be interesting to see how, or if, the Tar Heels' 93-81 victory over the Cavs on Saturday has an effect.
UNC entered the game projected as a No. 11 seed in Joe Lunardi’s latest Bracketology after back-to-back losses to top-10 Miami and Duke; Virginia, which plays the Hurricanes and Blue Devils in the coming weeks, was a No. 12.
A quick look back at the game, played at the Smith Center:
Turning point: Virginia -- which began the game making six of its first seven 3-pointers -- led by as many as 10 points, although the Cavs needed a 30-plus foot 3-pointer at the halftime buzzer from point guard Jontel Evans to re-knot the score 40-40.
Then the Tar Heels opened the second half with an 8-0 run, and despite the fact that Virginia’s Joe Harris scored 11 points in a row for his team at one point, the Cavs never took the lead again.
UNC shot 55.2 percent in the second half and made seven of 11 3-pointers after the break.
Player(s) of the game: UNC wing P.J. Hairston, making his second straight start, scored a career-high 29 points on 8-for-14 shooting. Harris also had a career-high 27 points for the Cavs.
Number to know: UNC’s 40 points in the first half and 93 points for the game were the most Virginia has given up all season.
Etc: Former Tar Heels players/current NBA players Tyler Zeller, John Henson, Kendall Marshall and Tyler Hansbrough were among those at the game. Zeller, last season’s ACC Player of the Year, had his No. 44 jersey honored at halftime. … UNC freshman big man Joel James missed his second straight game because of a concussion.
Next up: Virginia plays at No. 3 Miami on Tuesday; UNC plays at Georgia Tech the same day.
59dJeff Goodman and Jeff Borzello