The No. 1 Cavaliers prevailed, but had the Tar Heels won, they would have been a No. 1 regional seed in the NCAA tournament, the first No. 1 with as many as nine setbacks. He's a starter because he shoots the 3-pointer well - he's now at 40.8 percent for the season - and because Roy Williams believes in his defense. The Tar Heels held the Bisons to an offensive rebounding percentage of 14.0 (below their season average of 28.7) and had an effective field goal percentage of 0.592 (above their season average of 0.523).
As coaches like to say, playing a full 60 minutes is necessary for both teams to come out on top Saturday. "Their perimeter guys have a lot of size, too".
- The NCAA Tournament is all about a chance to win it all, a feeling North Carolina has experienced seven times. Next up for them is a matchup against the SEC's Texas A&M, who edged past No. 10 Providence in their opener. Led by TJ Starks and Admon Gilder combining for 33 points, the Aggies found the willpower to withstand Providence runs winning by four, 73-69.
The Aggies could make things hard on the Tar Heels with Tyler Davis and Robert Williams inside.
"Coach just told us that he needs bench people to come off and do big things, so we knew today that we needed to come out and play", Manley said.
It's a strategy that worked against Duke's freshman duo of Marvin Bagley III and Wendell Carter Jr.in last week's ACC tournament semifinal victory in Brooklyn.
"We were beating ourselves", said Carolina's Kenny Williams, a junior guard from Midlothian.
After Kenny Cooper hit a 3-pointer to put Lipscomb up 21-15 with 13:02 left in the first half, the shots started to rim out and looks weren't as easy as the Tar Heels locked in defensively.
It will likely be Pinson and Maye who are tasked with keeping Texas A&M's duo in check throughout the evening.
"All we need to do is go - I think that's the biggest thing for us", said UNC senior wing Theo Pinson, who averages 6.5 rebounds. "(Williams and Davis are) bigger, stronger and have been in college and knows how to play. The Tigers and confident sophomore guard Damontrae Jefferson wanted much more history with a win in the first round that would have made them the first 16 seed to knock off a No. 1.
He's not the only one, though. Luther played in 10 games this year before suffering a season-ending injury and had planned to return for a fifth year at Pitt.
Manley recorded just his second career double-digit rebounding game as he hauled in 10 and scored six points.
Davis (14 points, 15 rebounds) and Williams (13 points, 14 rebounds) led dominant games for the Aggies in their win over No. 10 Providence earlier in the day on Friday.
North Carolina also got to Lipscomb's high-powered offense and really made them struggle in the second half.
They're also really good.
That not something either either Davis or Williams is looking forward to.
"Everybody knows it takes a magical performance from somebody like us to beat somebody like them", Lipscomb coach Casey Alexander said, "and we didn't get that". "Those guys may be more gifted athletically".
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