KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The North Carolina men’s basketball team opened up a 20-point lead on the Wildcats from Villanova in the first half of the two team’s second round NCAA Tournament matchup.
But by halftime, the Tar Heels held just an eight point advantage — leading 37-29.
Both teams were a touch sloppy at the onset as they combined for seven turnovers in the first seven minutes. But the Tar Heels were the first team to get settled in and jumped out to a 32-12 lead.
UNC had a lot of success from behind the 3-point line in the early going as P.J Hairston drained two of them and Reggie Bullock, Marcus Paige and Leslie McDonald each made one.
But the Wildcats responded with a 16-5 run to close out the half and did so by making better shot selection and better penetration from the backcourt.
Both Hairston and James Michael McAdoo have 10 points for the Tar Heels and Villanova’s JayVaughn Pinkston leads the Wildcats with nine.
UNC finished the half having connected on five-of-11 shots from deep and 12-of-24 from the floor. Meanwhile, Villanova has missed all six of their attempts from long range.
The Wildcats clawed their way back into the game with improved interior play and that is reflected in the rebounding totals as they are outrebounding UNC 14-12.
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