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The Daily Tar Heel

Cavaliers Drain Baskets, Tar Heels

It hit the backboard and caromed in. Three points for the Cavaliers.

That's the kind of day it was for No. 9 Virginia.

The Cavaliers made 11 of their 22 attempts from behind the arc as they blew out No. 2 North Carolina 86-66 at University Hall.

Virginia led by 14 at the half and never let the Tar Heels trim the lead to single digits after intermission.

"Give Virginia a lot of credit for playing with a lot of energy and emotion," UNC coach Matt Doherty said. "They had more energy and emotion than we had and that was real disappointing to me. I don't know why we didn't show more fight today. I don't mind losing, but I do mind when you don't fight back."

The Cavaliers built their lead with nine 3s in the first half. Sharp-shooting Keith Friel nailed three. Virginia's leading scorer Roger Mason Jr. added two. And Donald Hand, who had been struggling with his shot and missed practice time to see his ill grandfather, drilled three more.

"By statistics, they're not a real good 3-point shooting team," Doherty said of the Cavaliers, who were hitting 36 percent of their triples coming into the game. "But they were tonight."

Hand finished with 17 points (just behind Mason's team-best 18) and a game-high six assists.

"Donald Hand, he had a great game today," Virginia coach Pete Gillen said. "And when he plays well our team goes up another level."

After trading leads with Virginia six times in the first half, North Carolina dropped a level when Ronald Curry picked up his third foul on a charge with 8:17 left before intermission.

Virginia led 29-28 at that point, but when Curry sat down, Virginia took off. The Cavaliers outscored the Tar Heels 27-14 the rest of the half to grab a 56-42 advantage. It marked the most points allowed in the first half and largest halftime deficit faced all season by the Tar Heels.

"It started slipping when Ron came out of the game," said Brendan Haywood, who totaled 20 points, seven rebounds and five blocks. "When he went on the bench, we had to put in freshmen in a tough role."

Freshmen Adam Boone, still recovering from an ankle injury, and Brian Morrison couldn't get the job done against Virginia's aggressive full-court pressure.

The press forced 15 UNC turnovers and even when the Tar Heels (22-4,

12-2 in the ACC) controlled the ball, they were forced out of their offensive sets. North Carolina then forced up bad shots, especially in the second half when it shot 33 percent from the floor.

Shooting guard Joseph Forte, who led all scorers with 28 points, put a big dent into UNC's shooting percentage. He missed 15 of his last 19 shots after hitting seven of his first eight to open the game.

Forte refused to comment to the media following the game.

"We just weren't hitting shots," said Curry, who was booed every time he touched the ball. "Shots weren't falling that had been falling all year."

But the Tar Heels still had a slim glimmer of hope late in the second half when Virginia's shots stopped falling.

UNC held Virginia without a point for 5:30, but managed to cut just 10 points off the 20-point lead.

Leading 76-66, the Cavaliers found the hoop again and ran off 10 straight points to end the game.

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The only bright spot for the Tar Heels came as Haywood broke Rasheed Wallace's 1994 blocked shot in a single-season record of 93 on his first blocked shot.

And a week after losing to Clemson, the Tar Heels had to watch orange-clad fans flood the court for the second time in three games.

The Sports Editor can be reached at