“We got some turnovers and got our break going,” UNC coach Roy Williams said.
But as the Tar Heels (12-1) get a full week of practice before beginning a stretch of 15 ACC games and a trip to Hartford to play Connecticut on Feb. 13, Williams tempered the excitement of UNC’s 12th straight win.
“It was important for us to understand that this stretch is not what we’re going to face down the line,” he said.
The Tar Heels drilled on their trapping defense and the Tribe hung around by capitalizing on UNC’s mistakes.
“If we didn’t get a turnover out of the initial trap, it was hard for us to get back on defense,” Williams said.
When a Corey Coefield bucket brought W&M within three with over 13 minutes of the clock gone by, someone on the bench pulled out a camera.
“We got a picture of the clock when it said 28 to 25. That’s going in a picture on my wall,” said Tribe coach Tony Shaver (UNC ’74), who totaled one personal foul in one minute of action as a player at Carolina.
Behind heady play and 13 first half points by Cofield, William & Mary led on three early occasions and were tied at 20-20 with 10:27 remaining in the first half.
“At the first TV timeout, we had taken all threes,” Williams said. “Sean [May] and Jawad [Williams]…neither one had taken a shot. I told them we had such a size advantage, and that was not being very intelligent.”
Carolina ended the half on a 23-7 run and then bolted out of the locker room with a 19-6 run that made the Tribe resemble a lot of the Tar Heels opponents this season.
UNC, which currently enjoys its longest winning streak since an 18-game run in 2000-01, have won six games by 30 or more points and eclipsed the century mark four times.
May scored a season-high 24 points on 9 of 13 shooting. He also blocked three shots and pulled down seven rebounds in an all-around performance that appeared almost effortless at times.
“My favorite shot is an off-the-glass jumper,” May said. “It’s falling for me right now so I’m going to continue to use it. I got a lot of stuff off the break. This team is extremely unselfish.”
May led four Tar Heels in double-figures, including 19 points (6-for-10 FG) by Jawad Williams, who extended his streak to 11 games shooting 50-percent or better from the floor.
Rashad McCants added 15 points, despite knocking down just 2 of 8 three-pointers. Marvin Williams added 14, converting 10 of 12 free throws.
Raymond Felton saw his streak of 12 consecutive three-pointers halted when he missed his first attempt of the day. Felton would convert 3 of 9 threes, while tallying 12 assists with just one turnover.
Williams stated Felton’s recovery of his injured wrist may now take longer than previously anticipated. His prognosis didn’t get any brighter when Felton hyper-extended it during the game.
“I was worried a little bit about Raymond,” Williams said. “In fact, I put him back in for couple of minutes just to see if the hand was going to affect him. They had taken off some of the pad today and he was looking forward to getting that off.”
The game wrapped up a string of three games that Roy Williams respectfully referred to as “intense practices.” And he will continue to work his troops this week with four two-a-days between now and when Carolina hosts 24th ranked Maryland at noon.
“You don’t see in the game a lot of what you see in practice, which is a lot of guys just playing together and sharing the ball,” McCants said. “Once we can carry that over we’ll be unstoppable. We definitely won’t be able to sleep on anybody in ACC play.”