CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Rashad McCants scored 26 points to lead
six North Carolina players in double figures and the Tar Heels (No. 11 ESPN/USA Today; No. 7 AP) beat Virginia 96-77 on Saturday.
It was a much-needed win for North Carolina. The Tar Heels were
coming off Thursday's 90-81 overtime loss at Florida State, a game
in which they blew a 24-point lead. In addition, they were trying
to avoid their fourth loss in league play.
North Carolina got off to a fast start Saturday, but allowed
Virginia to hang around before taking control with a 26-6
Virginia trailed 42-40 at halftime, but took a 49-48 lead on
Smith's slam off a steal at midcourt with 17:50 to play.
But the Tar Heels finally got their transition game going,
fueling the big spurt. Jackie Manuel got the run going with a
fast-break slam off a feed from McCants for a 55-52 lead with 14:48
The run featured plenty of easy scores. McCants had two dunks,
one coming off an alley-oop pass from Felton and the other off a
Virginia turnover. Felton hit a driving layup in transition, then
found a cutting Manuel for a layup and a foul on the next
At one point during that spurt, North Carolina hit seven of
eight shots. All but one came from inside the paint.
North Carolina ended the run with 15 straight points, the last
coming off a fast-break layup by David Noel, for a 79-58 lead with
7:48 left. Virginia never challenged after that.
North Carolina shot 17-for-27 in the second half and held a
38-27 rebounding advantage.