UNC vs. Mississippi State observations

acarter@newsobserver.comNovember 20, 2012 

— North Carolina coach Roy Williams said on Monday that he was “stunned” and “shocked” by the news that Maryland would be leaving the ACC to join the Big Ten.

“I’m an old ACC guy,” Williams said after his team’s 95-49 victory against Mississippi State in the quarterfinals of the Maui Invitational. “I’ve been around a long time. I’ve been around probably longer than the league has, I don’t know. So I was shocked by it and didn’t see it coming whatsoever.”

Williams referenced the ACC’s $50 million exit fee and said, “It will be interesting to see what happens there.”

“If they have that extra money, maybe they could pass it around to some other people kind of thing,” Williams said. “But it’s strange to me. What’s going on with college athletics is strange to me. I mean, give me a break – the Big East goes all the way to freaking Hawaii. Or close, anyway.”

Williams throughout his coaching career has competed extensively against Maryland. He graduated from UNC in 1972 and then was a Tar Heels assistant coach under Dean Smith from 1978-88.

“I’m one of those guys that if somebody doesn’t think that my house is the right place to be, then go ahead and leave,” Williams said. “I’ve got no problem with that. So for me, it’s a shock. That’d be the biggest thing. I hate to see them go but if they feel like that’s what best for them then, see you.”

MCDONALD BREAKS OUT: For an entire season, Leslie McDonald sat on the bench while he recovered from a torn ACL and anticipated the next time he’d play. That time finally came earlier this month in UNC’s season-opening victory against Gardner-Webb. But the results McDonald hoped for didn’t come with that opportunity.

He scored just four points against Gardner-Webb. Then five against Florida Atlantic. And three against Long Beach.

Then came Monday. McDonald made six of his nine 3-point attempts and finished with a career-high 21 points against Mississippi State.

“It’s been a rough start,” McDonald said. “I took a year off, rehabbing everything. So I’ve got to get used to getting accustomed with conditioning … but I think this game was really a come-out game for me.”

Both the points and the made 3-pointers were career highs for McDonald, who had never scored more than 17 before Monday.

HEELS APPROACH 3-POINT RECORDS: UNC didn’t set any records with its 3-point shooting on Monday, but the Tar Heels came close. UNC’s 15 3s were its most since it made 16 in a 2009 victory against Maryland.

UNC set its record of 17 3-pointers during a 100-70 victory against Florida State in 1995. UNC had twice made 16 3-pointers. The 32 3-pointers that UNC attempted on Monday were its most since its 2006 NCAA tournament loss against George Mason.

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