UNC Basketball: 2018-19 keys for Tar Heels against Miami

R.L. Bynum Triangle Sports Network

R.L. Bynum Triangle Sports Network

The Cavaliers improved to 21-2 (9-2 ACC) while North Carolina dropped to 19-5 (9-2 ACC).

Head coach Tony Bennett says, "We just kept challenging, hang in there, get a stop, we're still in it. Ty was like, 'Relax.' I thought we has some tough stretches, and Carolina did some good things, of course, but you know when you have a guy like Kyle, and the guys just made some plays and we were sound enough". About two minutes earlier, Jay Huff's layup had given Virginia a 61-59 lead, putting the Cavaliers ahead to stay in a game with six lead changes and four ties. "I think it was a great, gutsy win tonight". Naming a single prominent contributor from that game is tricky, especially when the Tar Heel offense is blitzing ACC-caliber defenses like it did against State. Virginia held the Tar Heels to just 37.1 percent shooting from the field and 31 percent from 3-point range. Senior Cam Johnson had 16 points, and was 6 of 14 from the floor.

North Carolina coach Roy Williams reacts to a foul against his team in the first half against Virginia on Monday, February 11, 2019 at the Smith Center in Chapel Hill, N.C. Ty Jerome notched the only double-double between the two teams with 15 points and 11 assists. "We just didn't seize the opportunity".

The Cavaliers did not have a lot of time to prepare for North Carolina after they fell to No. 2 Duke, 81-71, at home Saturday. "I don't think we turned the ball over but eight times, but I think we had two turnovers during that stretch, too". I don't care if we're on the road today. "Every game we come out and we expect to win, no matter where we are, no matter who we're playing against.' So it was really good to get this one".

Among the primary concerns health-wise for Virginia had been the status of starting forward Mamadi Diakite.

North Carolina erased its deficit after the break, but the Cavaliers recovered over the last seven minutes.

U.Va. forward Mamadi Diakite collided face-to-face Saturday night with teammate De'Andre Hunter with 4:39 left in the first half, resulting in Diakite laying face-down and almost motionless on the floor in front of Duke's bench for about a minute before walking to the locker room.

Jerome continues to play with the sore back that forced him to sit out against Miami on February 2, marking the first game the junior missed in his career.

Jerome scored the final basket of the first half Monday for Virginia to close a run of five straight points, providing the Cavaliers a 36-29 lead heading to the locker room.

The Tar Heels' 61 points were a season low. He did not play the rest of the game. "It wasn't flawless, but I told them this isn't about winning or losing". I said, 'This is an important game to get back to what we need to do'.

"They were ready, and they were locked in".