CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) -- The routine, much like Virginia's
offense, became repetitive and boring.
On nearly each possession, the Cavaliers walked the ball up
court and essentially held it, waiting patiently for the shot clock
to wind down. The players on defense -- in this case, the ones for
North Carolina -- simply tried to stay interested.
"It is tough when you're on defense because you want to run up
and down the court," Tar Heels guard Rashad McCants said. "But we
fought through it."
McCants had 23 points and Sean May added 17 points and 16
rebounds, helping No. 4 North Carolina pull out an 85-61 victory
over Virginia on Wednesday night.
Jawad Williams and Raymond Felton each scored 12 points for the
Tar Heels (21-3, 9-2), who moved within one-half game of
first-place Wake Forest in the Atlantic Coast Conference. McCants
had a season-high six assists as North Carolina won for seventh
time in eight games.
"I was happy to see Rashad make a bunch of shots," North
Carolina coach Roy Williams said. "I like our toughness. I think
that is one area that we are vastly improved over last year."
With both teams celebrating "Throwback Night" -- they donned
retro uniforms based on 1980s designs -- the Cavaliers (13-10, 4-8)
might have taken it a bit too literally. They continued their
slowdown tactics started earlier this month by coach Pete Gillen,
and it was a bit reminiscent of the 1982 ACC championship game.
Then, the Tar Heels beat the Cavaliers 47-45 after stalling for
the final 7½ minutes. That game -- with players such as Michael
Jordan, James Worthy and Ralph Sampson on the court -- is generally
credited with forcing the eventual implementation of the shot
The style certainly has worked for the embattled Gillen, who led
Virginia out of the conference cellar with three straight
"It's the first time we've lost in four games, so you can't
argue with it," said Virginia guard Gary Forbes, who had 23 points
on 8-of-11 shooting.
Against North Carolina, it ultimately failed. The Cavaliers shot
only 39 percent and had 17 turnovers, yet still stayed much closer
than they did in an earlier matchup this season -- the Tar Heels won
that one 110-76, handing Virginia its third-worst home loss in
"There's a scoreboard for a reason, you have to put the ball in
the basket," Gillen said. "We couldn't do that. We had one guy
who played well and that was Gary Forbes. When your good shooters
don't shoot the ball against a great team, you have trouble."
North Carolina freshman Marvin Williams missed the game with a
sprained left toe, the first time he's sat out this season. As the
sixth man for the Tar Heels, he was averaging 11.2 points and 6.7
rebounds, but he was hardly missed, thanks mostly to May.
He had his third straight double-double -- eight turnovers nearly
gave him an embarrassing triple-double -- and now has 47 rebounds in
the past three games.
"It was a challenge to me, but I like challenges, and I played
up to the challenge," May said. "I've always been able to play
with a great deal of confidence. I could have had some more points,
but my main goal was to just go out, play defense and try to get as
many rebounds as possible."
After Virginia closed to 24-20 on two free throws by T.J.
Bannister, North Carolina took control with a 15-2 run, led by
3-pointers by McCants and Felton. The margin eventually reached 19
before the Tar Heels faltered slightly, perhaps lulled to sleep by
the pace of the game.
The Cavaliers cut the margin to 12 on Sean Singletary's 3 before
May converted a nifty lob pass from Felton into an easy basket.
Later, McCants completed an 11-4 spurt by swishing a jumper from
beyond the arc, and the lead was 65-44.
"It's exciting just to be out there and know that everybody on
the floor can score, and everybody on the floor can play defense,"
McCants said. "It's a joy knowing that if you get beat on defense,
your teammates have your back, or if you slip up on offense,
somebody has a rebound."