College basketball: No. 14 North Carolina pulls away from Notre Dame

College basketball: No. 14 North Carolina pulls away from Notre Dame
North Carolina guard Joel Berry II (2) reacts after drawing a foul against Notre Dame on Feb. 12. (Grant Halverson / Getty Images)

North Carolina beat its two biggest rivals, then pulled away late to beat Notre Dame to cap a demanding stretch.

The 14th-ranked Tar Heels are tired. They also might have found a groove.


Theo Pinson scored 14 of his 16 points after halftime to go with 10 rebounds, helping UNC pull away late to beat Notre Dame 83-66 on Monday night for its third win in five days.

Things certainly look different from 10 days ago for the Tar Heels (20-7, 9-5 Atlantic Coast Conference), who were coming off their first three-game losing streak in four years and a win against a winless-in-the-ACC Pittsburgh team before the stretch. But they beat Duke at home on Thursday then won Saturday at North Carolina State in a pair of emotional rivalry games.

This time, UNC needed a 13-0 burst in the final 5{ minutes to finally get some separation against a team that just kept hanging around.

"You could tell we were out there and had a rhythm," Pinson said. "But at the same time, it's still tough recovering so fast, going from game to game. You want to celebrate one win and be like, `Dang, that was a good win for us,' but you've got to get ready for the next game.

"It was a big-time stretch for us."

Martinas Geben and John Mooney each scored 18 points for the Fighting Irish (15-11, 5-8), with Mooney going 6 of 6 from 3-point range. But UNC — which shot 57 percent — later used its clinching run to turn a 67-63 margin into a 17-point bulge near the 2-minute mark.

It didn't help the Irish that point guard Matt Farrell struggled; he scored nine points on 3-for-18 shooting, including 1 for 12 from 3-point range.

Strong bench play leads West Virginia

Teddy Allen scored 16 points, giving No. 20 West Virginia a needed spark off the bench in an 82-66 victory over TCU on Monday night.

James "Beetle" Bolden added 14 points, Daxter Miles Jr. scored 13 and Wes Harris had 11 points for West Virginia (19-7, 8-5 Big 12).

Desmond Bane had 16 points, Vlad Brodziansky added 15 and Kouat Noi scored 12 for TCU (17-9, 5-8).

West Virginia has had trouble holding onto leads throughout the Big 12 season but didn't let the Horned Frogs come back from a 38-27 halftime deficit.