ASHEVILLE, N.C. - After a tricky start in Asheville, Coach Roy Williams credits luck to the Tar Heels win over Stanford, 67-63.
North Carolina's freshmen continue to shine for the Tar Heels with starting backcourt RJ Davis completing the game with 11 points, four rebounds, and scoring leader Caleb Love finishing with 16 points, three rebounds two assists. Carolina's starting five, Garrison Brooks, Leaky Black, Armando Bacot, Love, and Davis, were in double-digit scoring. A freshman guard has led UNC in scoring in each of the first three games (Love vs. Charleston and Stanford; Davis vs. UNLV).
Battle-tested was the Heels' key phrase describing their dominance over Stanford, with Leaky Black demonstrating his defensive power and sealing in the win late in the second half. After clinching a free throw, at the 1:02 mark, Black had a huge basket sealing in the win for Carolina. Williams' highlighted the Black's contribution for the victory.
"I thought Leaky was sensational again on the defensive end of the floor; Made a big drive that gave us a three or four point lead. He also got a big tip out on the free throw that RJ ended up making the three, so I felt Leaky was sensational, but the game was decided one or two plays."
UNC finished with 24 turnovers but luckily concluded the night shooting over 50% compared to Stanford's 33%. North Carolina played shut down defense, preventing the Cardinal from creating a shot the last 4:16. The Heels move to a 13-0 record against the Cardinal, which is the second-most wins without a loss against any opponent.
The intense game featured two coaches who view each other as family. Stanford head coach Jerod Haase played for and coached under Williams at Kansas and spent nine seasons on Williams' staff at UNC. He helped the Tar Heels win the 2005 and 2009 NCAA championships. Haase is one of four men to play for Williams and coach against him as a head coach.
When asked about his connection with Haase, Williams stated that he views him as a son and hates playing against family.
"I hate it; Absolutely despise it to win the game. Before I can even feel good about it, I look down, and I'm walking down to see Jared Haase. He's one of the best competitors I've ever been around in my life. I love him. He's like a son. He's came closer to caring as much about the game as the head coach did of any player I ever coached."
The Tar Heels are now 22-3 in the Maui Invitational and have reached the Maui Invitational finals for the seventh time in eight appearances.
North Carolina continues their championship quest on Wednesday, December 2, vs. Texas at 4 pm on ESPN.
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