UNC routs Chaminade in Maui third-place game

acarter@newsobserver.comNovember 22, 2012 

— North Carolina’s 112-70 victory against Chaminade here on Wednesday night left Tar Heels coach Roy Williams with a warmer feeling than the one he had experienced on Tuesday, after a disappointing loss against Butler, but he still felt empty about UNC’s overall performance in the Maui Invitational.

“It does make you feel better,” Williams said of the victory against Chaminade, which never challenged the Tar Heels after the game was tied early at 9. “But we also have that hurt that you didn’t play as well as you wanted to play all three days. We didn’t get what we wanted out of tournament because we wanted the championship.

“We didn’t get what we wanted out of the tournament because we wanted to get better every day.”

The Tar Heels past three trips to Maui ended in championships here at the Lahaina Civic Center. In five trips to Hawaii, UNC had never failed to make the championship game of the Maui Invitational.

But here the No. 9 Heels (5-1) were on Wednesday, playing in the matinee game – the consolation game, and playing for third place. It was an opportunity they neither wanted nor embraced, and UNC made quick work of Chaminade (3-3), a Division II school from nearby Honolulu.

“Sorry we had to beat them that bad, I guess,” said James Michael McAdoo, the UNC sophomore forward who led the Heels with 18 points. “But we were trying to go out there and really get better as a team.”

Chaminade in 1982 beat No. 1 Virginia here in perhaps the greatest upset in the history of college basketball. And when the Silverswords beat Texas on Monday night in the first round of the tournament, it brought back some of those stories and memories from 30 years ago.

Silverswords coach Eric Bovaird embraced his team’s underdog legacy, and he embraced the opportunity to play UNC. After that victory against Texas on Monday, Bovaird also spoke about serving as his team’s bus driver, a detail that further illuminated the difference between his program and those at the major college level.

The difference was plenty clear on the court, too. The teams were tied at 9 early, about two minutes in, but from there UNC outscored Chaminade 33-10 during the next 10 minutes.

The Heels didn’t do anything complicated to get going. Just a 3-pointer from Reggie Bullock, a dunk from McAdoo after a Chaminade turnover, and UNC was off on an 11-0 run that had Bovaird calling a timeout.

There was nothing Bovarid could say, though, that would have made the game any less of a mismatch.

“We were kind of hoping they were going to come out cold,” he said.

But the Heels didn’t. Though they did little right through the first 30 minutes of an 82-71 loss against Butler on Tuesday, the Tar Heels what they wanted against Silverswords. They moved the ball inside to out at will, and passed effectively to open players who made shots.

UNC shot 68.6 percent during the first half, when it 17 of its 24 field goals came with assists. The Heels during the first 20 minutes made nine of their 12 3-point shots. Overall, the Heels shot 62.3 percent from the field, and made 13 of their 27 3-pointers.

One night after finishing the first half with 18 points, its fewest in a half in 16 years, UNC led Chaminade 62-33 at the half on Wednesday. The Heels trailed by 29 on Tuesday night before cutting Butler’s lead to six points in the final minute. Chaminade faced that same 29-point deficit at halftime, but there was no rally, not even a small one.

UNC scored its 100th point on a Dexter Strickland lay-up with 6:33 to play, and a strong crowd of UNC fans began to chant, “We want biscuits”- a reference to a Smith Center promotion in which a fast food chain offers free biscuits when the Heels score 100 or more points.

In addition to McAdoo’s 18 points, Bullock and Leslie McDonald finished with 17 for UNC, which also received 16 points from Brice Johnson and 10 from P.J. Hairston.

It was a celebratory scene during the final moments, and one that left the Heels in a happier mood than they’d been in on Tuesday. But there was still an overriding feeling of disappointment while Williams and his players walked out of the Lahaina Civic Center without a trophy for the first time in Williams’ tenure at UNC.

Afterward, McAdoo and Bullock spoke about what they’d learned about their team, and about some of their teammates, during a long trip west. Williams added his perspective, too.

“They learned that I can explode,” he said, “because my first explosion of the year was last night, the first timeout.”

Even after a 42-point victory, that moment was still fresh on Williams’ mind.

Carter: 919-829-8944

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