CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) -- Sean May and North Carolina can finally put the Kentucky loss behind them.
Four days after the disappointing defeat, May had 23 points and
16 rebounds to lead the Tar Heels (No. 13 ESPN/USA Today, No. 12 AP) past Miami 89-64 on
Jawad Williams, Rashad McCants and Jackie Manuel each scored 15 points for the Tar Heels (9-2), who earned their 200th win in the
Smith Center. North Carolina improved to 93-11 against
nonconference opponents in the building, which opened in January
North Carolina was coming off a 61-56 loss to the Wildcats on
Saturday, a game in which Kentucky shot 55 percent in the second
half. Roy Williams criticized his team's effort afterward, saying
he was as frustrated as he had ever been during his coaching
May and his teammates responded Wednesday.
North Carolina turned in a better defensive effort, shot 50
percent and had a 52-32 rebounding edge over the Hurricanes (10-4).
May, McCants and Jawad Williams led that turnaround. After combining
for 15 points on 6-for-23 shooting against Kentucky, the trio had
53 points and 26 rebounds against Miami.
"We were embarrassed watching the Kentucky film, and I think it
showed out there tonight," May said.
Williams played solid defense on Darius Rice, holding Miami's
leading scorer to seven points, 11 below his average.
"Watching the Kentucky film, you realize things you could've
done to have won that game," Williams said. "We've been
waiting for this moment."
Robert Hite scored 27 points to lead the Hurricanes, who fell to
1-7 against their future Atlantic Coast Conference rival. Miami
leaves the Big East for the ACC next season.
The Hurricanes won last year's matchup, taking a 64-61 overtime
win as North Carolina went without a field goal for the final 12
minutes. The Tar Heels had no such offensive troubles Wednesday,
getting nine straight field goals from May to take control.
They increased their lead to 23 points midway through the second
half behind several transition baskets, many coming off turnovers.
"We wanted to force some turnovers and get our break going, and
I think we did that," Roy Williams said. "We tried to mix it up
and vary it so they wouldn't know exactly when it was coming."
Miami shot 38 percent and finished with 22 turnovers against the
trapping North Carolina defense.
"I thought North Carolina defensively just did a really good
job of forcing us out of what we wanted to do," Miami coach Perry
Clark said. "I think our turnovers gave them break opportunities
and they have a lot of tremendous players."
The Tar Heels needed this win as they continued through a tough
January schedule. North Carolina faces No. 8 Georgia Tech on
Sunday, then travels to Maryland before hosting No. 1 Connecticut
May got the Tar Heels going, providing a steady shooting touch
inside and the tough rebounding that helped ignite North Carolina's
fast break. After starting 0-for-3, he hit his last eight shots of
the first half and finished with 17 points and seven rebounds.
The 6-foot-9, 260-pound sophomore did it with an array of moves,
from the soft turnaround jumper in the lane to a dunk off a steal
from midcourt. He also had a long outlet pass that led to a layup
by McCants, capping a 10-2 run that gave the Tar Heels a 44-31 lead
with 1:39 to play in the half.
May hit his ninth straight shot 15 seconds into the second half,
and the Tar Heels never let their margin dip below 10 points.