Coming out of the timeout, a Kenny Williams steal led to a layup for Coby White, then a Williams offensive rebound led to a Cameron Johnson 3-pointer. A White and-one layup put the Tar Heels up 19-10 with 13:18 to go, just minutes after the teams were tied at eight. White and Johnson combined for 17 of UNC’s first 21 points, shooting 7-9 in that stretch.
Midway through the first half, the Tar Heels led, 28-21. A Garrison Brooks layup stretched UNC’s lead to 10 points before Louisville answered with a 3-pointer.
From there, North Carolina built on its lead as Maye scored twice in the paint and reserve guard Seventh Woods hit two free throws to make it a 34-21 game with 8:32 to go until the break.
A free throw and a pair of Louisville 3-pointers shaved that lead to six, then a tough Jordan Nwora layup and a wide-open 3-pointer cut the Tar Heel advantage to one. White ended the Cardinals’ 12-0 run with a 3-pointer of his own and Johnson added a jumper to extend the team’s lead back to 39-33.
After a Louisville jumper, UNC ended the half with six straight points – a Johnson layup, a Maye hook shot and two free throws from White – to give the Tar Heels a 45-35 advantage at the break.
Early in the second half, the North Carolina lead was stretched to 12 with 15:03 to go, thanks in part to another and-one layup from White and 3-pointers from Maye and first-year wing Nassir Little.
UNC went cold, however, and did not score for 3:23, while Louisville responded with a 6-0 run. A Brooks and-one layup and the subsequent free throw ended the run and brought North Carolina’s lead back to 61-52 with 11:53 to go.
The two teams continued to trade buckets, with neither making a decisive run to grab hold of the game until a Maye putback to make it 76-61 forced a Louisville timeout with under six minutes to play.
Who stood out?
Maye led the way for North Carolina with 19 points and nine rebounds.
White also stood out for the Tar Heels, posting 19 points and adding seven rebounds and six assists.
When was it decided?
The North Carolina lead tentatively hovered in the six to 13-point range for the entirety of the second half until the 6:32 mark, when the Maye putback pushed it to 15. A subsequent breakaway layup by White and Brandon Robinson free throw put North Carolina firmly in control, up 79-61 with 4:54 remaining.
Why does it matter?
With the win, UNC has advanced to the ACC semifinals, and remains in contention for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. It was North Carolina’s second consecutive win over Louisville after a 21-point loss to the Cardinals on Jan. 12 at the Smith Center.
When do they play next?
UNC will face No. 3 seed Duke in the ACC semifinals on Friday night. The Tar Heels are 2-0 against their rival this season.
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