ACC Basketball

The Tar Heels Dominate Second Half

(Will Bratton/WRAL contributor)

In the first half of the second quarterfinals game, Louisville took control early by stealing the North Carolina blueprint for success; rebound and run.

By dominating the boards (a 25-17 first half edge) and pushing the ball quickly up the floor, the Cardinals were able to take control early, building a 10-point lead before Carolina was able to reduce the deficit to 32-27 at halftime. Terry Rozier was aggressive, taking it to the paint, drawing fouls (Carolina had 10 fouls to the Cardinals’ five), leading all scorers with 13.
However, in the second half, the Tar Heels decided to turn into Virginia (at least on the defensive end), playing the kind of defense Roy Williams hasn’t seen in a long while and completely shut down Louisville.
After letting the Cardinals hit 52% of their shots in the first half, the Cards hit just 8-for-36 in the second half. North Carolina eventually took control a little past the midway point in the second with a 8-0 run to turn a 57-56 deficit into a seven-point lead. Louisville would end up missing 15 of their last 17 shots, getting outscored 24-3 in the game’s final seven minutes.
Brice Johnson was unstoppable in the second half as he finish with 22 points. Marcus Paige chipped in 13, hitting a pair of threes, dishing out five assists and forcing four turnovers. If Tar Heels fans have not got excited about his recent play…it might be time to.
Louisville was led by Rozier’s 20, but he was just 1-for-8 from three. As a team, the Cardinals were 4-for-22 from deep. Montrezl Harrell had 14 and 12, but was neutralized in the second half by Carolina’s big men.
The Cardinals fall to 24-8 on the season and now go home and wait to find out where they will be seeded in the Big Dance. I would say a 5-seed is most likely at this point.
North Carolina advances to the semifinals where they will face Virginia Friday night. A win over the Cavaliers could help them get a 3-seed in the NCAA Tournament.

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