Tuesday’s roundup: With Williams sick, NC beats BC
Boston — North Carolina coach Roy Williams spent most of the second half of Tuesday night’s game against Boston College in the locker room after collapsing to the court with vertigo.
When it was over, he decided to come back out — not just to congratulate his ninth-ranked Tar Heels on their come-from-behind 68-65 victory, but also to commend the Eagles and coach Jim Christian on their hard-fought loss.
“I really felt like it was important for me to come out and shake Jimmy’s hand because I didn’t want to be a distraction,” said Williams, 65, who has suffered from benign positional vertigo for 17-18 years but said he never had it hit him during a game.
“I’m alive. I’m kicking,” said the Hall of Fame coach, who was replaced on the bench by assistant Steve Robinson. “I couldn’t be happier for Steve. He’s like a brother to me and he coached his buns off tonight.”
Justin Jackson scored 20 points, and Marcus Paige hit a 3-pointer with under 2 minutes left to give Carolina (20-4, 9-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) the lead for good. The Eagles, who have not won an ACC game this season, led the whole way until Theo Pinson hit two free throws with under 4 minutes remaining.
Dennis Clifford had 14 points and 13 rebounds, and Eli Carter scored 26 points for BC (7-17, 0-11). Matt Milon made a 3-pointer with 5.6 seconds left, but after Paige hit two free throws Carter’s off-balance attempt from half court bounced harmlessly off the backboard.
With the victory, Carolina snapped a two-game losing streak — its longest of the season.
“We certainly rallied around the fact that Coach was down,” said Robinson, who had been a head coach at Tulsa and Florida State. “Like I told them, it’s not my first rodeo. Things just kind of worked out for us at the end. But we battled.”
Jackson said the players weren’t overly concerned because they had seen Williams have vertigo attacks before in practice.
“Not in a game, but we’ve seen it before and he’s been fine after a little bit,” he said. “It definitely stinks in the middle of a game to see your coach go down like that. But Coach never quits. So we know he’ll be back.”
Christian said it took him a minute to realize what had happened. But he was glad to see Williams after the game, shaking hands.
“For him to come back out and congratulate our kids on their effort speaks volumes as to why he’s a Hall of Fame coach,” Christian said. “He really wanted to congratulate them. And deservedly so. Anybody who saw this game today saw a lot of heart, a lot of character.”
Clifford had six rebounds in the first 6 minutes to help BC open a 13-4 lead. The 7-foot senior, who has had only one double-double in his career, finished the first half with nine boards and eight points, then opened the second half with a dunk that he celebrated by flexing his arm at the BC bench.
Clifford added another dunk with 7:33 left to make it 56-49. This time, he threw it down with both hands, then flexed both arms as he ran back on defense.
But BC went cold, failing to score for almost 4 minutes while the Tar Heels ran off eight straight points to take their first lead of the game. With Carolina leading 57-56, Carter made one of two free throws to tie it and then, after Jackson hit a jumper in the lane, Carter made a 3-pointer to give the Eagles a 60-59 lead. It was their first basket in 5:24.
Paige hit a 3 with 1:47 left, and after BC couldn’t get a shot off Jackson made a short jumper from the side to give Carolina a four-point lead. It was still four points when Milon made a 3 with 5.6 seconds to play to make it 66-65.
Paige made his free throws, then Carter’s desperation attempt at the buzzer wasn’t close.
More Top 25 men
No. 1 Villanova 86, (at) Depaul 59: Josh Hart scored 18 points and No. 1 Villanova celebrated its first game as the nation’s top team with a victory. Kris Jenkins made three 3-pointers and finished with 13 points as the Wildcats (21-3, 11-1) rolled to their 13th win in their last 14 games. They moved two games clear of fifth-ranked Xavier for the Big East lead after the Musketeers lost 70-56 at Creighton.
Villanova turned 19 DePaul turnovers into 19 points in its debut in the top spot of The Associated Press’ poll. The Wildcats had climbed to No. 2 on six occasions before Oklahoma and North Carolina lost last weekend, clearing the way for them to ascend to No. 1.
Eli Cain scored 15 points for DePaul (8-16, 2-10), which shot 41 percent from the field in its fourth loss in five games.
(At) Creighton 70, No. 5 Xavier 56: Maurice Watson scored a career-high 32 points and Creighton rode a fast start to the upset. The Bluejays (16-9, 7-5 Big East) used an early 16-0 run to take a 17-point lead 9 minutes into the game and then held off the Musketeers after they pulled within five with 6 minutes left.
Watson was dazzling all game with his drives to the basket against much bigger defenders. He scored 22 points in the second half and finished off the Musketeers with a bank-in high off the glass, a layup and then a steal and layup to make it 66-53 with 1:54 to play.
Xavier (21-3, 9-3) got 17 points from Jalen Reynolds and 14 from James Farr.
(At) No. 6 Kansas 75, No. 10 West Virginia 65: Perry Ellis scored 21 and Landen Lucas had 16 rebounds for Kansas (20-4, 8-3 Big 12). West Virginia is 19-5, 8-3.
(At) No. 7 Virginia 67, Virginia Tech 49: Anthony Gill scored 16 points and Virginia turned the tables on its state rival to win its seventh straight. Isaiah Wilkins added a career-best 14 points and Malcolm Brogdon had 12 for the Cavaliers (20-4, 9-3 Atlantic Coast Conference). Virginia avenged a 70-68 loss to the Hokies in Blacksburg on Jan. 4 in what rates as its worst performance of the season, and extended its winning streak at John Paul Jones Arena to 17 games.
Freshman Justin Robinson scored 16 points and classmate Chris Clarke had 11 in his first action for the Hokies (13-12, 5-7) since he broke his right foot in late December. Virginia Tech’s top two scorers, Zach LeDay (16.0 ppg) and Seth Allen (14.5), were limited to seven and six points, respectively, in part because of foul trouble.
(At) No. 12 Miami 65, Pittsburgh 63: Angel Rodriguez scored on an offensive rebound with 1.4 seconds left to win it for Miami (19-4, 8-3 Atlantic Coast Conference).
(At) No. 19 Dayton 76, Duquesne 74: Scoochie Smith hit a 3-pointer that put Dayton (20-3, 10-1 Atlantic 10) ahead to stay. The Flyers won their eighth straight.
(At) No. 22 Kentucky 82, Georgia 48: Jamal Murray scored 24 points, Tyler Ulis added 14 and Kentucky held Georgia to a season-low 22 percent shooting. Picking up where he left off after a career-best 35 points on Saturday against Florida, Murray made 8 of 14 from the field including 6 of 10 from 3-point range. His accuracy helped spur the Wildcats (18-6, 8-3 Southeastern Conference) to 52-percent shooting and a surprisingly easy win over a Bulldogs team that entered as the nation’s No. 6 team and SEC leader in field-goal defense.
Georgia (13-9, 6-5) just couldn’t make shots as its two-game winning streak ended. The Bulldogs closed the first half on a 0-for-17 drought and weren’t much better in the second half as they trailed by 37 points in the final minutes.
No. 25 Wichita State 74, (at) Drake 48: Ron Baker and Shaq Morris had 11 points each and Wichita State won its 12th in the last 13. Thirteen players scored for the Shockers (18-5, 12-1 Missouri Valley Conference), who moved within two victories of clinching at least a share of its third straight league title.
Wichita State had little trouble with the Valley’s worst team, rattling off a 27-5 run to close the first half in beating the Bulldogs for the ninth straight time.
Reed Timmer scored 20 points for Drake (6-19, 1-12), which lost for the 15th time in 17 games.
Big Ten men
(At) Maryland 93, Bowie State 62: Second-ranked Maryland got 16 points from Rasheed Sulaimon and cruised for its school-record 27th consecutive home victory. Taking a break from their rigorous Big Ten schedule, the Terrapins (22-3) enjoyed a stress-free encounter with Bowie State, a Division II school in Maryland.
Maryland coach Mark Turgeon went to his bench early and received a solid performance from backup center Michal Cekovsky, who usually sees little playing time behind Diamond Stone and Damonte Dodd.
Cekovsky scored 11 of his 14 points in the first half to help the Terrapins take a 47-29 lead. His previous career high was 10.
(At) Ohio State 71, Northwestern 63: Jaquan Lyle led five Ohio State players in double-figures as the Buckeyes rallied. Keita Bates-Diop had six of his 11 points for Ohio State during a 15-2 run that swung the game in the Buckeyes’ favor midway through the second half.
Lyle, who had four points during the Buckeyes’ go-ahead spurt, finished with 16 points and Marc Loving had 15 for Ohio State. Trevor Thompson added 12 and Jae’Sean Tate had 10 for the Buckeyes (15-10, 7-5).
Tre Demps and Bryant McIntosh scored 14 points each, Alex Olah had 11 and Scottie Lindsey added 10 for Northwestern.
The Wildcats (16-9, 4-8) led for most of the first 35 minutes but wilted under an aggressive Ohio State press in the second half.
(At) Eastern Michigan 71, Central Michigan 56: James Thompson IV had 19 points and 15 rebounds, and Brandon Nazione 16 points and 11 rebounds for Eastern (12-12, 4-7 Mid-American Conference). Ty Toney scored 11 and Tim Bond 10.
Chris Fowler scored 16 for Central (13-11, 6-5).
Miami (Ohio) 45, (at) Western Michigan 44: Rod Mills hit a free throw with eight seconds left, his only point of the game, to win it for Miami (9-12, 3-8 MAC).
Thomas Wilder scored 13 for Western (9-15, 3-8).