North Carolina on Wednesday responded from one of its ugliest performances of Roy Williams' head coaching tenure with an 86-71 victory against Michigan – a triumph in which the Tar Heels needed less than a half to surpass its output in a dreadful defeat against Michigan State.
After that loss, on Sunday, Williams said his team's performance came in “about as bad of an exhibition as I've ever seen.” Prone to hyperbole at times amid especially frustrating moments, Williams wasn't wrong. UNC during that 63-45 defeat made but 15 of its 61 attempts from the field (24.8 percent).
It was the worst single-game shooting performance in school history, based on available records. There was no hangover effect, though, or any carryover against the Wolverines on Wednesday at the Smith Center in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
UNC (6-1) made its 15th shot – an entire game's worth, on Sunday – with a little less than 6 ½ minutes remaining in the first half. The Tar Heels scored their 45th point with 3 ½ minutes remaining before halftime, and by then they were well on their way to a 51-37 halftime lead.
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After the defeat on Sunday, several UNC players spoke of how the loss would test their resolve, and resiliency. They responded well on Wednesday, and their 17-2 run during the first 6 ½ minutes of the second half – one that left UNC with a 68-39 lead – ensured the final minutes would be without drama.
Luke Maye, the junior forward, led the Tar Heels with 27 points. It was the fifth time in UNC's first seven games that Maye has scored at least 20 points, and his consistent scoring outbursts have come after he never scored more than 17 points during his first two college seasons.
Maye was one of three UNC players in double figures, including Joel Berry (17) and Kenny Williams, who scored all 11 of his 12 points during the first five minutes. After shooting the worst percentage in school history on Sunday, the Tar Heels made 54.8 percent of their attempts on Wednesday.
It was the first men's basketball game between UNC and Michigan (6-2) since April of 1993, when UNC won its second national championship under coach Dean Smith with a 77-71 victory against the Wolverines. UNC recognized several members of that team during a timeout in the first half.