While his ninth-ranked Tar Heels (2-0) are wearing down the Wildcats (0-2), Williams stormed the court to protest a hard foul by the guard Matt McKillop on Rashad McCants. McKillop would get whistled for an intentional foul, but wait a minute…Williams is yelling at Sean May and other Tar Heels. He’s not pointing out McKillop or any other of his teammates that had momentarily squared off with the UNC players.
“It appeared to me that our guys were talking too much,” Williams said. “I didn’t like their reaction to the hard foul.”
According to Sean May, who finished with 19 points, including 9-of-11 shooting from the free throw line, Williams misinterpreted their response.
“He was just saying that we don’t do that, because we don’t want any situations where we can’t play in the next game,” May said. “But these are my brothers out there and if any anybody goes at my brothers, I want them to know that I’ve got their back.”
Jawad Williams led all scorers with 28 points on a 10-of-11 shooting night, including 3-for-3 from 3-point range. He also pulled down seven rebounds – four offensive, blocked a shot and made a steal.
“I just went out and played basketball,” Williams said. “I was just going with the flow of the game. I didn’t want to rush anything and put our teammates in bad spots. I just took my time.
“I’m excited that we’ve won two basketball games, but like Coach said, we can always get better.”
During a break in which Carolina had just opened up a 31-point lead with 2:48 to go, the Davidson cheerleaders were lofting Wildcats’ T-shirts into the crowd only to have several thrown back onto the floor.
It may have been a “home game” for Davidson – a school with an enrollment of 1,650 – at least half of which encircled the Charlotte Coliseum court Monday night. Still a healthy sampling of the partisan North Carolina fans that span throughout the Southeast, held the breadth of the 16,356 on hand to watch the Tar Heels make quick work of the reigning Southern Conference champion Wildcats.
“[This game] exposed us to the things we need to work on,” Davidson coach Bob McKillop said. “We tried to play zone, but they were so quick we felt like ‘man’ was something we had to stick with.”
This is basically the same UNC team that went 19-16 a year ago and lost to Georgetown in the NIT, and the nearly annual Davidson-Carolina series was only two years removed from a 58-54 Wildcats’ victory in the Smith Center.
However the Tar Heels have played with an accelerated enthusiasm in its two earliest chapters of the pre-holiday schedule, and look incapable of pulling such an early season gaffe again. At the very least, the 2003-04 edition will win the games it’s supposed to; and while at its best, can seriously challenge for Williams’ fifth visit to the Final Four.
“North Carolina is a heck of a team that is going to have a terrific year,” McKillop said. “They just don’t force turnovers, they convert them. The better teams with defense are able to create turnovers.”
After the Tar Heels had led by as many as 24 points to set the tone and take a 43-25 lead at the half, Davidson outscored them 11-4 to start the second half and pull within 11 points.
“It’s good for a young team like us to taste some adversity with a team coming back like that,” May said.
But just as they had done to electrify the Smith Center crowd 48 hours earlier in a win over Old Dominion, Williams again took an alley-oop pass from Felton for another incredible fast break dunk. Then the next time down the court, Williams nailed a 3-pointer and was fouled. After his made free throw, Felton drew a quick charge and soon Carolina would go up 65-40 on Williams’ second of three 3-pointers in the game.
A later flying dunk by Williams on another assist from Felton and a subsequent 3-pointer from Scott would put the Tar Heels up 90-59 with just under three minutes to play.
“We came out in the second half and were a little flat,” Williams said. “But I do believe we made some strides tonight. Defensively, I was real pleased.”
“I’ve learned that we can be a pretty good team if we concentrate and do what Coach tells to,” added Jawad Williams. “We can only get better from here.”