BROOKLYN — Thanks to another solid defensive performance and a second-half explosion from Theo Pinson, the sixth-seeded North Carolina men’s basketball team defeated third-seeded Miami, 82-65, on Thursday night in the ACC Tournament quarterfinals.
UNC started the game with the same defensive intensity that smothered Syracuse in the second round. But head coach Roy Williams’ starters failed to match that effort offensively, failing to score in the game’s first 6:26. With 13:34 left in the first, Williams made a wholesale change and subbed out his entire starting five.
The substitution settled down the Tar Heels. After the Tar Heels missed their first 13 shots, Seventh Woods ended the drought with an and-one layup, 7:09 into the game.
Woods’ layup kicked off a 19-4 run for UNC, punctuated by a 3-pointer from Brandon Robinson to put the Tar Heels up 19-18 with 5:57 remaining in the half. The next 5:56.6 passed uneventfully, but with Miami leading 31-29, Cameron Johnson was fouled by Lonnie Walker IV on a three-quarters court heave with 0.4 seconds left in the half.
Johnson hit all three of his free throws to give North Carolina a surprising 32-31 lead heading into halftime.