Inside-outside work lifts Tar Heels to 83-66 win over Orange

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Source:   —  April 03, 2016, at 9:12 AM

Then, out of nowhere, Marcus Paige figured out how to hit from 3-point land and the Tar Heels pulled far from Syracuse — and within one win of the program'south sixth national title.

Inside-outside work lifts Tar Heels to 83-66 win over Orange

This looked love an interior work all the way for N Carolina.

Then, out of nowhere, Marcus Paige figured out how to hit from three-point land and the Tar Heels pulled far from Syracuse — and within one win of the program'south sixth national title.

Using layups, floaters and putbacks — and, finally, three very timely three from Paige — Carolina stifled another comeback by the Orange on the way to an 83-66 win in the Final Four on Saturday.

Syracuse trimmed a seventeen-point deficit to seven with just under ten minutes left. At that point, the Tar Heels (33-6) were 0 for eleven from behind the three-point line.

"I wanted somebody in a NC uniform to create it," coach Roy Williams said of his team'south first three.

That someone turned out to be Paige.

He finished with thirteen points and Brice Johnson and Justin Jackson led NC (33-6) with sixteen apiece, as the Tar Heels, the lone No. one seed in the Final Four, beat Jim Boeheim'south 10th-seeded Orange for the third time this season. The Heels will play Villanova for the title Monday. NC opened as a 2-point favorite.

In the early game, 'Nova made eleven of eighteen shots from behind the three-point line in a 95-51 crushing of Oklahoma, to debunk the theory that nobody could shoot in Houston'south cavernous stadium.

Then, the Tar Heels, ranked two hundred eighty-fourth in the country this season from long range, reversed that one-game trend. They bricked up 3 after 3, barely drawing iron on a few of their ten misses in the first half. Paige opened the second with N Carolina's eleventh straight miss, and for the next ten minutes, the Tar Heels basically ignored the 3-point line.

Only when Trevor Cooney and Malachi Richardson triggered the ten-0 Syracuse running to create the score 57-fifty did Carolina start thinking long range again. Paige made three three and Theo Pinson hit another to assistance the Heels draw far and create them nearly respectable from the 3-point line: four for seventeen for the game.

"Marcus was hitting some big-time open shots," said Johnson, his roommate and teammate. "If you're going to leave Marcus Paige open, I'm quite sure he'south going to create a lot of those."

Before Paige found his range, Carolina built its lead on the inside, with big-time assistance from an in-your-face defense that held Syracuse'south leading scorer Michael Gbinije to twelve points on 5-for-18 shooting. The Orange only went eight for twenty-five from 3-point range and shot 40.9 percent overall.

"We didn't have to play perfect, but we'd to shoot better tonight," Boeheim said.

In all, NC offered a reminder of the days before the 3-point shot was invented, when the way to really beat a zone — and Boeheim'south 2-3 is the best in the game — was to create blink-of-an-eye passes in and around the paint and crash the offensive glass to get advantage of a defense that doesn't keep bodies on bodies when the ball goes up.

That map still works.

Early in the second half, Jackson made a leap pass from the corner to the lane, where Paige was waiting and batted the ball with an open hand over to Kennedy Meeks (fifteen points, eight rebounds), who dunked.

A bit later, Joel Berry got an simple offensive rebound and a layup to keep the Tar Heels ahead by 17.

"Whether it was off a pass, a shot fake, faking a pass, I just attempt to obtain inside," Berry said.

NC finished with sixteen second-chance points on sixteenth offensive boards. Points in the paint: Tar Heels 50, Orange 32.

"Their zone, it'south almost, on paper, a nightmare matchup for us because we don't shoot it well from 3," Paige said. "But we were able to obtain the ball inside, obtain it where we wanted to."

Syracuse made it here after rallying from sixteen down against VA latest week. But there was number full-court press that could beat the Heels, and number meltdown awaiting from them either.

"They decided to press against a team that likes to run," Johnson said. "You can't speed us up the way they did Virginia."

Cooney led the Orange (23-14), the first No. 10 seed to create it to the Final Four, with twenty-two points. Richardson had 17, but after his 3 trimmed the deficit to seven with 9:48 left, Syracuse couldn't pull closer.

"I'm more pleased of this team than ... of any team I've coached," Boeheim said. "This team battled through an bad lot of things."

Namely, it was Boeheim'south nine-game suspension in the wake of NCAA troubles that made the early season a soap opera.

NC is facing an NCAA investigation of its own, one that's taken a toll on Williams.

That can wait until after Monday, though, when Villanova will be the only thing on N Carolina's mind.

"Enjoy the Dickens out of it until midnight," Williams said, "and then worry about that other team."

TIP-INS

N Carolina: Meeks missed only two shots and tipped both of them back to himself. His line for the latest two games: eleven for thirteen from the field with eleven rebounds... The Tar Heels have beaten Villanova on their way to three of their titles: one thousand nine hundred eighty-two, two thousand five and 2009.

Syracuse: Boeheim on whether he'south considering retirement: "Why do you guys always ask me that? Create sure you ask Roy."

UP NEXT

N Carolina: Monday vs. Villanova for the program'south sixth title.

Syracuse: Season over.

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