After his team’s 61-52 win Sunday night against
Beating Carolina is always a big deal in
"I said, 'I'm going to give you 15 seconds to celebrate'" said Bennett of his postgame approach. "We talked about what we wanted to do. We put the music on. I said, 'Let's dance for 15 seconds.' Then, we shut off the music and said, 'All right. We're done.'
"You have to certainly enjoy it…but you can't linger too long. With a young team, you've got to know when you've got to get back to business."
U.Va. (11-3 overall, 1-0
Joe Harris led U.Va. with 19 points. He had five points during a 10-0 run early in the second half for the Cavaliers, who never trailed again after the run. He was the only U.Va. player to score in double figures, but all nine of the Cavaliers who got in the game scored.
UNC (10-4, 0-1), which got 22 points from
Despite its struggles shooting in the long run, UNC didn't start the second half looking like it would have much trouble finding a groove on the offensive end. UNC hit five of its first six shots in the half to take a 36-28 with 16:25 remaining.
Making matters worse for U.Va., point guard Teven Jones turned the ball over twice in the first two minutes and 19 seconds of the second half, forcing Bennett to call a timeout. After the timeout, he replaced Jones with Evans, who scored six of his eight points in the second half.
"They needed to understand – 'Get going. Let's play with some assertiveness, let's handle the ball better'" Bennett said. "I thought defensively and offensively it was so shaky. I said, 'There's a lot of time left, but after talking at halftime, I thought we'd come out with a little more purpose.' We were wandering too much, and it cost us."
The eight-point lead was as good as it would get for UNC.
After Jones' second turnover, U.Va. didn't have another one in the final 17 minutes, 41 seconds. UNC also missed 14 of its last 20 shots from the floor.
"I think we turned up the intensity on defense," said U.Va. forward Akil Mitchell, who had seven points and a game-high 11 rebounds despite playing with a sore ankle after spraining it in Thursday's practice. "We got them to turn it over a few times. Then, we started running our offense a little harder and getting easier shots and putting more pressure on the rim. I think it just kind of swung the doors open a little bit."
With U.Va. trailing 36-31, forward Darion Atkins sparked the Cavaliers with 15:40 remaining by blocking a McAdoo dunk attempt. Mitchell hit a layup on the other end 13 seconds later to cut further into UNC's advantage.
"(McAdoo) probably slowed up and just wasn't aware," said Atkins, who had two points and played just 16 minutes while struggling with a shin splint. "It was to my advantage, so I just went up and blocked it."
U.Va. shot 44.9 percent from the floor, including 52 percent in the second half. It excelled from 3-point range, making 57 percent (8 of 14) of its long range attempts for the game.
Paul Jesperson nailed a 3-pointer with 13:34 left to tie the game 36-36. Freshman Evan Nolte connected on back-to-back 3-pointers in a one-minute span to help U.Va. build a 46-40 lead. He was 3 of 5 from beyond the 3-point arc for the game.
Harris scored 10 of his points on layups and dunks. With 7:06 left, his 3-point play on a layup and ensuing free throw after being fouled by P.J. Hairston put U.Va. ahead 49-42 and got the crowd involved.
"Watching film, I felt like Carolina's bigs didn't necessarily do a good job of 'showing' off side balls screens, and that sort of thing," Harris said. "We kind of worked on in practice how if I wasn't going to be able to grab a lane to the rim that I was going to be able to kick back to the post. That was kind of a focus point offensively."
Bullock, who returned to action after suffering a concussion in a Dec. 27 practice, made 4 of 6 shots from 3-point range. He got UNC back into the game with some timely shooting.
He was the only UNC player with any kind of touch from the perimeter. Excluding Bullock's effort, UNC made 1 of 11 shots beyond the 3-point line.
"We had a little bit of a run the first couple of minutes of the second half…after that, we didn't get very good movement," UNC coach Roy Williams said. "We didn't set the screens the way we wanted to set them, didn't use them the way we wanted to use them. We missed some good shots. At the same time, our defense was breaking down on the other end."
Bullock's 3-pointer with 6:43 left cut U.Va.'s lead to 49-45, and another 3-pointer with 3:53 remaining sliced U.Va.'s cushion to 51-48. Bullock's layup off an offensive rebound with 3:10 left reduced U.Va.'s advantage to 51-50.
UNC wouldn't hit another shot from the floor the rest of the way, missing its last five attempts. Harris and Jesperson both had four points in the final three minutes to put the game out of reach.
Though Mitchell and Atkins were less than 100 percent, U.Va. still managed to keep the game manageable on the boards. UNC entered the game third in the nation in rebounds per game (44.8) and averaging a plus-6.2 rebounding margin per game, but it only held a 35-32 rebounding advantage against U.Va.
Evans also wasn't playing at full strength. It was his first game back since going out Dec. 5 against Tennessee after aggravating an injury to his right foot, which was surgically repaired in October as result of a stress fracture. He played 21 minutes and added six assists to his season-high points.