Another rough defensive night forces UNC to fight off upsetWhen UNC made its run last March through the ACC and NCAA tournaments, being committed to play tough defense was a huge factor in why it happened. The Tar Heels may finally find that level of defense between now and March. But for the second straight ACC game, there was little sign of it, even against the ACC’s last-place team. Pittsburgh fell to 1–8 in the league. (Raleigh & Company)
Channeling his frustration, Tar Heels' Joel Berry bounces backAfter North Carolina's flight home from Saturday's loss at Miami, Joel Berry grabbed his stuff from the Smith Center and made a quick trip home to grab a bite to eat. But it wasn't long before the junior guard was back in team's practice gym, firing up jumpers. Roy Williams said that one of the things that often hinders Berry is the anger that follows mistakes. (Fayetteville Observer)
UNC Basketball Learning to FinishUp nine with about six minutes left, North Carolina had a perfect opportunity to step on a lesser opponent’s throat. Due to some suspect late-game execution, though, the Tar Heels had to force a last-second stop to escape with a victory over Pittsburgh. Let’s break down the last several minutes of Tuesday’s contest to see what went wrong (and right) for UNC. (The Secondary Break)
UNC looking for improvement on defensive endThe North Carolina Tar Heels were tested until the final buzzer against Pittsburgh, who entered the game last place in the ACC. A hot shooting performance by the Panthers kept them in striking distance the entire night. Although UNC came out with a 80-78 win, Coach Roy Williams and company recognized that defense was a major issue. (Carolina Blue)
UNC's Execution Against the ZoneNo zone defense is exactly the same, and UNC has yet to combat the scheme consistently. In the Tar Heels’ 80-78 win over Pittsburgh on Tuesday, it was the Panthers’ 3-2 zone, with 6-foot-7 wing Jamel Artis at the top of the key, that caused trouble for UNC early. Pitt’s length, with all five of their starters standing 6-foot-6 or taller, proved to be a challenge. (Inside Carolina)
Tar Heels get out of the zoneAnother night, another zone, and as long as Theo Pinson is on the bench, it’s likely North Carolina’s opponents will keep throwing the defense at the Tar Heels. UNC was good enough to escape with an 80-78 victory over Pittsburgh on Tuesday night, but the last-place Panthers were able to slow the Tar Heels enough to make a game of it at the Smith Center. (Winston-Salem Journal)
A more assertive Justin Jackson is a game-changer for North CarolinaPittsburgh coach Kevin Stallings remembered going against the old Justin Jackson. The one from Halloween 2015, when Stallings, who was then at Vanderbilt, held a private scrimmage against North Carolina. That version of Jackson looked nothing like the one he saw Tuesday night, the one who helped the Tar Heels avoid an upset in an 80-78 win over the Panthers. (ESPN.com)
Video: UNC Players Post-Pitt InterviewsSeveral North Carolina basketball players spoke with the media following the Tar Heels' 80-78 win over Pittsburgh on Tuesday night. Here are their video interviews: Isaiah Hicks, Joel Berry, Luke Maye
ESPN announcer: Justin Jackson among nation's bestWhen talking about the Wooden Award and current North Carolina players, many would pick the Tar Heels' point guard Joel Berry II. But when ESPN color announcer Sean Farnham picked his "starting five" for his Wendy's Wooden Award watch, he selected North Carolina wing Justin Jackson as his pick. (Carolina Blue)
Lucas: Making ChoicesWe should have seen this coming when Roy Williams called a first half timeout. That should have been the sign that this wasn’t going to be a typical UNC basketball game. Instead, it turned into one where every decision had multiple layers, every option had a secondary and tertiary option, and every choice had the potential to change the outcome of the game. It started in the first half. (GoHeels.com)
UNC-Pitt Postgame NotesNorth Carolina has won 20 games for the 58th time in school history and the 13th time in 14 seasons under Roy Williams. Carolina shot 50 percent from the floor, the ninth time this year UNC has shot 50 percent or better. UNC is 8-1 this year when it shoots 50 percent. Pitt shot 55.6 percent from the floor, the highest percentage by an opponent this year. (GoHeels.com)
UNC-Pitt Postgame QuotesRoy Williams: "Weird game. I don’t know what I’m going to do, but some way somehow I have to figure out a way to do a better job coaching on the defensive end of the floor. I’ve always taken great pride that we can do some things there. They really shot the ball well, they played well. If Kevin [Stallings] gets that kind of focus they are going to have a nice run." (GoHeels.com)
Video: Roy Williams Post-Pitt Press ConferenceNorth Carolina basketball coach Roy Williams speaks with the media following the Tar Heels' narrow 80-78 win over Pittsburgh on Tuesday in Chapel Hill.
The Primary Break: UNC-Pitt Quick TakesWith 20 points, Justin Jackson moved past Pete Brennan and Rusty Clark into 39th place in UNC history with 1,344. Danny Green’s 38th with 1,368 points. Kennedy Meeks’ three blocks moved him into a tie with Ed Davis for 15th in Tar Heel history with 129. Joel Berry’s five made 3-pointers give him 140 in his UNC career, moving past Jeff McInnis into 17th place all-time. (The Secondary Break)
Video: North Carolina Edges Pitt, 80-78 - Game HighlightsJustin Jackson scored 20 points, Isaiah Hicks added 18 points and 8 rebounds, and the Tar Heels hung on to defeat the Pittsburgh Panthers, 80-78, on Tuesday in Chapel Hill.
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