NCAA News Wire

North Carolina 63, Notre Dame 61

Alan Draper profile picture
Sports Editor
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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — No. 14 North Carolina found an uptick in offense at just the right time to foil Notre Dame’s upset bid.

The Tar Heels came away with a 63-61 victory over Notre Dame Monday night at the Smith Center, giving North Carolina its 12th straight win.

The victory was not finalized until the Irish came up empty on guard Eric Atkins’ drive into the lane for the game’s last shot. The shot was partially blocked by North Carolina guard Marcus Paige.

North Carolina (23-7, 13-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) moved into third place and has a chance to finish anywhere from second to fourth place.

Notre Dame (15-16, 6-12) closed its first ACC regular season by losing four of its final five games. The Irish played without second-leading scorer Garrick Sherman, a senior center who sat out with a hand injury.

Atkins finished with 21 points.

Notre Dame guard Pat Connaughton scored 10 of his 17 points in the first 3:08 of the second half as the Irish closed within 42-37. Guard Steve Vasturia had 11 points for Notre Dame.

Forward James Michael McAdoo scored 14 points for the Tar Heels. Forward J.P. Tokoto added 11 points.

Paige made a 12-foot jumper to break a 50-50 tie with less than six minutes left. But the Irish scored six of the next eight points before the Tar Heels surged.

McAdoo scored on a jumper from the lane in transition before a Notre Dame turnover and forward Brice Johnson’s basket gave North Carolina a 59-56 lead. Tokoto hit a jumper for the Tar Heels before the Irish used their final timeout at the 1:15 mark.

Connaughton converted a three-point play off an offensive rebound with 52 seconds left, pulling Notre Dame within 61-59.

Paige missed a jumper, but he retrieved the rebound off a deflection. Paige then drained one of two free throws with 17.4 seconds to go.

Atkins scored on a drive to the basket at the 8.8-second mark. Paige went 1-of-2 again from the line with 6.6 seconds left before he disrupted Atkins’ final attempt.

Notre Dame wiped out what had been a 15-point hole late in the first half to tie the game at 44-44 with 14:51 left. Vasturia’s 3-pointer on the next possession gave the Irish a 47-46 lead.

North Carolina, which topped Notre Dame 73-62 on Feb. 8 at South Bend, Ind., scored only nine points in the first 14 minutes of the second half.

The 22 second-half points for North Carolina matched the team’s fewest in a half this season.

North Carolina led 41-27 at halftime after shooting 50 percent (16-of-32) from the field.

A couple of baskets off offensive rebounds by forward Joel James pushed North Carolina to a 23-13 edge with 7:50 left in the half.

The margin increased to 38-24 on Tokoto’s three-point play.

Atkins scored 10 first-half points for Notre Dame.

North Carolina’s starting unit, which included three senior walk-ons, left with an 8-4 lead.

Notre Dame was without a steal or blocked shot in the first half.

NOTES: Notre Dame played without senior C Garrick Sherman, who has a hand injury. He had started all 30 previous games. … Walk-ons F James Manor, F Denzel Robinson and G Wade Moody made their first career starts for North Carolina as part of a Senior Night tradition. Moody hit a 3-pointer on the Tar Heels’ first possession. … This was Notre Dame’s first visit to Chapel Hill since Feb. 23, 1993. … Fans were offered a chance to move to seats closer to the court because of no-shows stemming from Monday’s storm. … North Carolina’s 11-game winning streak entering the game was its longest since November-December 2010, when it won 13 in a row. … North Carolina finishes the regular season Saturday night at No. 4 Duke. … Notre Dame wrapped up its first ACC regular season, and it will return to the state of North Carolina for next week’s ACC tournament.

Alan is an expert gambling writer who works as one of the chief editors for Basketball Insiders. He has been covering online gambling and sports betting for over 8 years, having written for the likes of Sportlens,, The Sports Daily, 90min, and His particular specialisms include US online casinos and gambling regulations, and soccer and basketball betting. Based in London, Alan holds an MA in English Literature and is a passionate supporter of Chelsea FC.

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