Tar Heels pass first test
Greensboro, NC (Sports Network) – Sean May posted 23 points and 14 rebounds to
lead 10th-ranked North Carolina to an 88-81 win over 11th-ranked Illinois in
the ACC/Big Ten Challenge at Greensboro Coliseum.
Rashad McCants added 20 points for the Tar Heels (4-0), who posted their first
win over a ranked opponent under new coach Roy Williams. Jawad Williams
chipped in 18 points.
Deron Williams scored 22 points on 9-of-18 shooting from the field for the
Illini (3-1), who suffered their first loss of the season. Roger Powell
contributed 20 points. Dee Brown — Illinois’ leading scorer — was shut out
in the first half and finished with eight.
May converted 9-of-11 free throws for North Carolina, which scored eight
straight points to snap a 69-69 tie down the stretch in the second half.
Illinois missed nine straight shots from the field and six from the foul line
to help propel the run.
Jawad Williams hit two foul shots with seven minutes left to put the Tar Heels
ahead 71-69. Raymond Felton added two from the line less than a minute later.
A tip in by Jackie Manuel and a jumper from McCants with less than five
minutes to go put the Tear Heels ahead 77-69.
The Illini pulled within 79-78 on a basket by Luther Head with just over two
minutes remaining, but the Tar Heels converted 7-of-10 from the foul line in
the final 46.7 seconds to preserve the victory.
Neither team led by more than three for most of the first half.
The lead changed hand nine times in the first half before the Heels scored the
final six points to lead 39-33 at halftime. McCants and Jawad Williams each
hit three-pointers during the flurry.
Early in the second half, North Carolina took a 49-40 edge on a three-point
play by May.
Illinois responded with a 15-5 run. Two foul shots by Deron Williams with less
than 14 minutes remaining put the Illini ahead 55-54. Brian Randle drained a
three-pointer and scored five points during the run.
A three-pointer by Brown opened 67-63 edge for the Illini midway through
After four more lead changes, May’s jumper with more than eight minutes left
put the Tar Heels ahead 69-67.
Powell’s basket a minute later forged 69-69 tie for Illinois.