North Carolina used a late first half run to propel themselves into a dominating second half in their 88-71 win over Pittsburgh. Joel Berry was the key jump starter for UNC’s large run that ultimately gave them the win. Berry finished with 20 points on 7-8 shooting.
The Tar Heels closed the first half on a 6-0 run and dominated every minute after that. It took a little longer to get going than Roy Williams would have liked. After the game he said, “Up until the last 5 or 6 minutes in the half, i was not pleased at the way we played at all.”
It was Berry who really got them started as he dominated on the defensive side of the ball as well. He forced several turnovers and had four steals that led to UNC baskets, several by Berry himself.
Williams said of his point guard’s early performance, “In the first half Joel Berry was our offense.” The second half finally saw many Tar Heels stepping up. Brice Johnson recorded his 20th double-double of the season with 19 points and 10 rebounds. Justin Jackson and Isaiah Hicks added 11 and 10 points respectively.
Pittsburgh came out strong, leading for much of the first 15 minutes, but couldn’t find the shooting touch they had yesterday. Cameron Johnson, who was on fire yesterday, started today but struggled, shooting just 2-10 for 4 points.
North Carolina takes on the winner of Notre Dame and Duke tomorrow at 7pm in the first semifinal.
Pittsburgh will look to Selection Sunday to see if they have earned a spot in the big dance. Jamie Dixon thinks they have.