CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – North Carolina endured an emotionally volatile week packed with a big win, a frustrating loss as well as the mixed outcome to the program’s long wait to learn the status of two players ensnared by NCAA troubles.
The No. 14 Tar Heels capped it all with a tough win, surviving a potential winning 3-pointer from a shooter having a career day to reversing their season-long struggles at the foul line in overtime.
Marcus Paige scored 11 of his 17 points in the extra period to help North Carolina beat Davidson 97-85 on Saturday in the team’s final game before the Christmas holiday.
The Tar Heels (8-3) bounced back from Wednesday’s loss to Texas.
The NCAA cleared senior Leslie McDonald – who had missed the first nine games due to NCAA eligibility concerns – hours before tipoff of an 86-83 home loss to the Longhorns.
Then, on Friday, the school said it wouldn’t seek reinstatement from the NCAA for junior P.J. Hairston, last season’s leading scorer.
That’s about as much drama as you can get in one week as a team, as a young team, Paige said. But I think we handled it well. We understood we had a four- or five-day break coming up so we just had to get through this game and get to the break.
UNC survived a career-best 33 points and seven 3-pointers from Davidson’s Brian Sullivan.
No. 6 LOUISVILLE 85, FIU 56: In Miami, Russ Smith scored 18 points, Wayne Blackshear added 13 for the Cardinals (11-1), who won their sixth straight.
No. 8 VILLANOVA 88, RIDER 67: In Villanova, Pa., freshman Josh Hart came off the bench to score 19 points and as the Wildcats (11-0) got off to their best start since the 1961-62 team won its first 12.
No. 15 MEMPHIS 77, SOUTHEAST MISSOURI 65: In Memphis, Tenn., Shaq Goodwin scored 20 points, Joe Jackson added 16 and the Tigers (8-2) pulled away in the final 8 minutes.
No. 16 FLORIDA 66, FRESNO ST 49: In Sunrise, Fla., Will Yeguete led strong rebounding by the Gators (9-2), who pulled away in the second half in the Orange Bowl Classic.
No. 18 KANSAS 86, GEORGETOWN 64: In Lawrence, Kan., Tarik Black and Joel Embiid both scored 17 points and the Jayhawks (8-3) bludgeoned the Hoyas (7-3) in the their first visit to Allen Fieldhouse.
No. 19 KENTUCKY 93, BELMONT 80: In Lexington, Ky., Julius Randle scored a career-high 29 points for the Wildcats (9-3), who trailed until the 16:21 mark of the second half.
KANSAS ST. 72, No. 21 GONZAGA 62: In Wichita, Kan., Thomas Gipson scored eight of his 14 points in the game’s decisive minutes and freshman Marcus Foster also had 14 points as the Wildcats (8-3) outlasted the Bulldogs (10-2).
FLORIDA ST. 60, No. 22 UMASS 55: In Sunrise, Fla., the Seminoles (8-3) scored the game’s final six points and handed the Minutemen (10-1) their first defeat of the season.