The Tar Heels jumped out to a 25-3 lead and before you knew it, the rout was on. Carolina’s high-energy defense pressured BYU from the opening tip, limiting the Cougars to a single field goal in the first 11 minutes.
“Needless to say we feel a lot better than we did last Friday night,” said coach Roy Williams.” I think there were two keys to the game – the first key was our defensive intensity and our level of enthusiasm we had on the defensive end of the floor that translated into easy baskets.”
BYU shot 32 percent for the game and only 19 percent in the first half.
The win marked the return of Raymond Felton. The junior point guard was back in the starting lineup after serving a one game suspension and appeared determined to make up for lost time.
“Versus Santa Clara I almost broke down in tears watching them play. I couldn’t go out there and help them out,” said Felton. “But you know it felt great, we had a great game. We played great defense but still have a lot of things to work on.”
Felton dished out seven assists during the game’s first 20 minutes. Melvin Scott scored all 10 of his points during the first half. And Rashad McCants was 3-for-6 from behind the arc and totaled 13 points.
Sean May scored a game-high 18 points and grabbed eight boards in 23 minutes of action.
“I think this team woke up,” said May. “We didn’t bring our best game our first game of the season. That’s sad but we had a wake-up call.”
May was happy to see No. 2 back in the lineup.
“He sets the tone. He’s our general. We feed off of him. I told him 'Lead us tonight. We need you out there to set the tone.' He did a great job of that tonight.”
The first half onslaught allowed Williams to rest most of his starters in the second half. No starter logged more than 26 minutes of action. The team should be fresh for Tuesday’s second-round game as all 15 players saw action.
It’s safe to say Coach Williams and his players have put Friday’s 77-66 loss to Santa Clara behind them.
“It’s definitely in our head,” said Felton. “But we got to put it behind us and move forward.”
They meet Tennessee Tuesday at 9:30 p.m. (EST) for a spot in Wednesday’s final.