|Posted on March 10, 2018 at 10:40 PM|
Article by Dan Tortora
The stage was set for the 2016 Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Tournament championship rematch.
Two years ago, the North Carolina Tar Heels had bested the Virginia Cavaliers in Washington, D.C., and this time around, Virginia was looking to flip the results, with senior guard Devon Hall and senior forward Isaiah Wilkins having known what being on the losing side felt like.
Nroth Carolina, on the other hand, was hoping that history would repeat itself, with senior guard Joel Berry II, senior forward Theo Pinson, and junior guard Kenny Williams are the court in the championship once again, after hoisting the hardware in 2016.
In a span of just over a minute from 18:45 to the 17:37 mark, both teams traded buckets back-and-forth before the Cavaliers took the lead off of a Wilkins dunk that made it 7-5.
Two free throws by Nigel Johnson and the Cavaliers were ahead by seven.
Then, the Tar Heels went on a 10-3 run to knot the game up at 15, thanks to five points from both Luke Maye and Kenny Williams.
A 12-5 run by Virginia to follow would stretch them back out to a seven-point lead, largely coming from Ty Jerome, who had nine of the 12 points in the run.
Despite getting out to as much as an eight-point lead, the Cavaliers' lead would be cut in half to four, 34-30, before the break at the half, with the Tar Heels ending the opening period on a 6-0 run.
Kenny Williams, who did not attempt a shot back in the 2016 ACC Tournament finale versus Virginia, had eight points in the first half alone.
In the beginning of the second half, the Tar Heels kept making moves but the Cavaliers would not let them get closer than down four points. At the 14:50 mark, Virginia had their largest lead of the game up to that point, ahead by nine, 48-39.
North Carolina finally got their deficit in the second half to under four points from two free throws by freshman forward Garrison Brooks with 11:43 to play.
Then, the Tar Heels went on a field goal drought that started at the 12:30 mark of the second half and ended with 8:17 left to play, a span of five minutes and 13 seconds, broken by a jumper by Berry that brought the Tar Heels within three, 52-49.
Maye, after scoring 15 points for North Carolina in the first half, did not attain any points in the second half until the 3:16 mark, on a three that brought North Carolina within six, at 58-52.
Berry would feed Maye over top as he cut to the basket. The ball would roll Maye's way, getting him to 20 points for the game and the Tar Heels within five, 63-58, with 1:05 to go.
After a three by sophomore guard Ty Jerome with 2:56 to play, Virginia did not have a field goal.
They would score their final nine points of the game at the charity stripe, with freshman guard De'Andre Hunter responsible for the majority of the freebie makes, going 6-for-8 in the final 2:56, for the 71-63.
In Washington, it was North Carolina.
Two years later, it's Wahoo nation and the Virginia Cavaliers.
Guy led all Cavaliers with 16, followed by Hall with 15, Jerome with 12, and Hunter with 10.
Maye led the way for the Tar Heels with 20, followed by Berry with 17, and Williams with 12.