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No. 7 Tar Heels rally to beat No. 20 Vols, 78-73

  • North Carolina forward Luke Maye (32) congratulates teammate Kenny Williams (24) after scoring a three point basket in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Sunday, Dec. 17, 2017, in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Crystal LoGiudice) Crystal LoGiudice

  • North Carolina guard Andrew Platek (3), Jalek Felton (5) and teammates celebrate a 3-point basket in the second half of a game against Tennessee on Sunday in Knoxville, Tenn. North Carolina won, 78-73. AP

  • Tennessee forward Admiral Schofield (5) wipes his face as he walks off the court between teammates Jordan Bone (0) and Yves Pons, left, after being defeated by North Carolina in an NCAA college basketball game Sunday, Dec. 17, 2017, in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Crystal LoGiudice) Crystal LoGiudice

  • Tennessee forward Grant Williams (2) is defended under the basket by North Carolina forward Luke Maye (32) in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Sunday, Dec. 17, 2017, in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Crystal LoGiudice) Crystal LoGiudice

  • Tennessee forward Admiral Schofield (5) is fouled by North Carolina guard Joel Berry II (2) in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Sunday, Dec. 17, 2017, in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Crystal LoGiudice) Crystal LoGiudice

  • North Carolina guard Joel Berry II (2) is defended under the basket by Tennessee forward Kyle Alexander, left,in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Sunday, Dec. 17, 2017, in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Crystal LoGiudice) Crystal LoGiudice

  • North Carolina forward Theo Pinson (1) reaches for the ball in front of Tennessee forward Kyle Alexander (11) in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Sunday, Dec. 17, 2017, in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Crystal LoGiudice) Crystal LoGiudice

  • North Carolina head coach Roy Williams yells to his team in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Tennessee, Sunday, Dec. 17, 2017, in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Crystal LoGiudice) Crystal LoGiudice

  • Tennessee guard James Daniel III (3) reacts after North Carolina guard Jalek Felton (5) lost control of the ball, allowing it to go out of bounds, in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Sunday, Dec. 17, 2017, in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Crystal LoGiudice) Crystal LoGiudice

  • North Carolina guard Joel Berry II (2) is defended under the basket by Tennessee forward Kyle Alexander (11) in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Sunday, Dec. 17, 2017, in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Crystal LoGiudice) Crystal LoGiudice

  • North Carolina forward Garrison Brooks (15) goes up for a basket in front of teammate Luke Maye (32) and Tennessee forward Kyle Alexander (11) in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Sunday, Dec. 17, 2017, in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Crystal LoGiudice) Crystal LoGiudice

  • North Carolina guard Joel Berry II (2) is defended by Tennessee forward Admiral Schofield, right, in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Sunday, Dec. 17, 2017, in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Crystal LoGiudice) Crystal LoGiudice

  • North Carolina forward Luke Maye (32) is defended by Tennessee forward Admiral Schofield (5) in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Sunday, Dec. 17, 2017, in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Crystal LoGiudice) Crystal LoGiudice

  • North Carolina forward Theo Pinson (1) is defended under the basket by Tennessee guard Jordan Bowden, right, in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Sunday, Dec. 17, 2017, in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Crystal LoGiudice) Crystal LoGiudice



Associated Press
Monday, December 18, 2017

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – North Carolina passed the kind of road challenge it wanted to face before starting Atlantic Coast Conference competition.

Kenny Williams sank a go-ahead 3-pointer with 35 seconds left as the seventh-ranked Tar Heels rallied past No. 20 Tennessee, 78-73, Sunday.

This was the first game North Carolina (10-1) played all season that was decided by a single-digit margin. Even its lone loss of the season was a 63-45 blowout against No. 2 Michigan State.

“This will be good for us,” Williams said. “Every game in the ACC is like that. To have this experience and know we can pull it out, I think it will come in handy down the road.”

North Carolina capitalized on a 9-0 run in the final minute to win for the fifth straight time and ended Thompson-Boling Arena’s hex on defending national champions.

Tennessee (7-2) had won each of the last five times it had hosted a defending national champion, a string that included victories over Connecticut (in January 2012), Florida (February 2007 and February 2008) and Kentucky (February 1999 and February 2013).

“We always say we need a game like this to help us later on down the road,” said North Carolina’s Joel Berry II, who scored 21 points. “We hadn’t had a game like this. For us to be able to thrive in this situation and be able to get the momentum back on our side was a great thing. It was all about the defensive end. We got stops.”

Luke Maye and Williams added 15 points each for North Carolina. Grant Williams scored 15 points to lead five Tennessee players in double figures.

Tennessee led by as many as nine points in the second half and was ahead 70-67 before North Carolina took control down the stretch.

North Carolina began its rally when Berry hit two free throws with a minute left to make it 70-69. Maye then stole an errant pass from Lamonte Turner to set up the shot by Williams, whose 3-pointer off Theo Pinson’s assist put North Carolina ahead 72-70.

After Tennessee’s Admiral Schofield missed with 18 seconds left, Pinson hit two free throws, made a steal and added two more foul shots to make it 76-70.

(5) Arizona 76, Vanderbilt 64

TEMPE, Ariz. – Tra Holder scored 25 points, Shannon Evans II added 15 and No. 5 Arizona State overcame a dismal start to beat Vanderbilt on Sunday.

Arizona State was coming off a victory last week over then-No. 2 Kansas that sent the Sun Devils to their highest ranking in 36 years.

The Sun Devils (10-0) looked nothing like the team that won at Allen Fieldhouse in the opening minutes against Vanderbilt (3-7), falling into a 13-0 hole as they tossed balls out of bounds and directly to the Commodores. Once they got rolling, there was no stopping the Sun Devils.

Sharp at both ends, Arizona State used a 26-3 run spanning halftime to turn what started out as an embarrassing performance into a runaway that had Wells Fargo Arena the loudest it’s been all season.

Mickey Mitchell provided the Sun Devils a spark off the bench, playing solid defense while grabbing 13 rebounds. Arizona State hit 14 of 28 shots in the second half to remain one of the nation’s four undefeated teams. Saben Lee had 24 points to lead Vanderbilt.

(21) Baylor 118, Savannah State 86

WACO, Texas – Jo-Lual Acuil had career highs with 31 points and 20 rebounds and Baylor had a 21-0 first-half run to rout Savannah State.

Manu Lecomte added 25 points for Baylor (9-2), King McClure had 19, Nuni Omot 18, and Mark Vital 12. Dexter McClananahan led Savannah State (3-10) with 22 points, and Austin Dasent had 18.