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Monday's High Country Sports Update.... (2016-12-12 13:16:04)

Carolina Downs Tennessee, 73-71....CHAPEL HILL--Nate Britt hasn't been able to make up for the offense and shooting touch lost with North Carolina's starting point guard sidelined by an ankle injury.

 

Still, the senior was good enough in the final minutes of a tight game to help the No. 7 Tar Heels complete a big comeback — with some help from a couple of freshmen.

Rookie big man Tony Bradley Jr. blocked a shot in the final seconds to help the Tar Heels rally from 15 down to beat Tennessee 73-71 on Sunday, a performance that Hall of Fame coach Roy Williams described as "a struggle."

With Joel Berry II missing his second straight game due to a sprained left ankle suffered last weekend, Britt finished with 11 points and shot just 4 of 14, but he also had seven assists and a career-high five steals.

"I talked to (assistant coach Hubert) Davis after practice yesterday and he was telling me: The shots will come ... but you've got to lose yourself in the game," Britt said. "You can do so much more than just knock down shots."

Britt has started with Berry out, but went 0 for 8 against Davidson. Justin Jackson scored 27 points and hit seven 3-pointers to carry the offense that night, but he shot just 3 of 15 Sunday — though he had the go-ahead driving score with 2:14 left.

While Kenny Williams III led UNC with 12 points, Bradley finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds while fellow freshman Brandon Robinson tipped in a missed drive by Britt with 52.4 seconds left for a three-point lead.

Roy Williams was irked by his team's play in the Davidson win. He wasn't much happier Sunday.

"I approach it like we stunk it up, and we made a couple of plays at the end," he said.

Robert Hubbs III had 21 points to lead the Volunteers (4-4), who led 30-15 early and shot 65 percent in the first half before finishing at 52 percent. But UNC had 22 offensive boards and scored 25 second-chance points to offset its 40-percent shooting.

"We told our team at halftime: if we're going to win the game, we're going to have to do it by rebounding the ball," Tennessee coach Rick Barnes said. "We didn't do it. Carolina just played volleyball with it."

BIG PICTURE

Tennessee: The Volunteers repeatedly came up big shots to answer UNC's pushes in the second half. But rebounding and the 3-for-13 shooting from 3-point range was too much to overcome.

"Like I told them, it's easy to go in the locker room and say, 'We did this, we did that,' but the fact is we came to win and we didn't," Barnes said. "I don't want them to feel good about being close in games. We've got to figure out a way to get over the hump."

UNC: The Tar Heels badly miss Berry's floor leadership, scoring ability and toughness to finish through contact. That was especially glaring with Jackson struggling and the front line of Kennedy Meeks and Isaiah Hicks combining for 15 points and nine boards.

While Roy Williams wouldn't focus on Berry's absence, Britt was asked about his takeaway from the past two games of playing without Berry.

"You could see how much we need him," Britt said.

BRADLEY'S BLOCK

Tennessee had a last chance to tie as Lamonte Turner drove toward the basket. The 6-foot-10 Bradley blocked the shot and grabbed the loose ball in what amounted to the Volunteers' last real shot.

"The point guard was dribbling toward me kind of fast so I knew just to try to help," Bradley said. "I put my hand up and the ball hit my hand, and I got the rebound. It happened so fast."

POLL IMPLICATIONS

The Tar Heels didn't look particularly sharp in two wins this week. Could that cost them some votes in the new AP Top 25 released Monday?

UP NEXT

Tennessee: The Volunteers host Tennessee Tech on Tuesday night.

UNC: The Tar Heels play their second straight against a Southeastern Conference opponent in a marquee matchup against No. 6 Kentucky on Saturday in Las Vegas.

 

Offensive Onslaught Sends Mountaineers Past Cavs

BOONE, N.C. –– An offensive onslaught steered Appalachian State University men’s basketball toward a decisive 116-57 win over Montreal College on Sunday afternoon inside the Holmes Center.

Trailing 5-0 in the early going, the Mountaineers (3-5) engineered a 17-1 run which was ignited by a Kelvin Robinson (Little Rock, Ark./Episcopal) layup and capped by an emphatic Tyrell Johnson (Atlanta, Ga./Stephenson) slam dunk.

That run by App State would lead the Black and Gold to its second 60-point half of the season and lead the Cavaliers (9-2) by 30 points, 61-31, at the break.

The Apps continued their dominance in the second period with another 50-point half - posting 55 points en route to the 59 point victory. The Mountaineers shot 60.6 percent from the floor - the best mark the program has posted since shooting 67.4 percent against Stephen F. Austin last season.

Six Mountaineers posted double-figures on Sunday, setting a season-high, with Ronshad Shabazz (Raleigh, N.C./Huntington Prep (W.V.)) led all scorers with 17 points on 7-of-11 shooting. Griffin Kinney (Delaware, Ohio/Fork Union Military Academy) finished with 11, while Matt O’Boyle (Peoria, Ariz./Sunrise Mountain/Pima Community College), Bennett Holley (Roanoke, Va./North Cross), Craig Hinton (Winston-Salem, N.C./East Forsyth/VMI) and Isaac Johnson (Charlotte, N.C./Providence Day) all finished with 10 points a piece.

The point totals for O’Boyle and Hinton were both career highs. Jake Wilson (Raleigh, N.C./Millbrook/Lenoir-Rhyne) posted a team-high seven rebounds and six blocks off the bench. 

The Mountaineers posted a season-high 30 assists and were led by Patrick Good (Johnson City, Tenn./David Crockett) who tallied six on the afternoon. App State’s 12 steals was the second highest total in a game this season.

Appalachian will return to the court on Thursday, Dec. 15 when they travel to in-state non-conference foe NC State for a clash on ESPNU. Tip time is slated for 7 p.m.

Notes: Appalachian State’s win was sparked by a 17-1 run that covered 2:52 … with the win, App State moved to 4-0 all-time against Montreat … the Mountaineers scored 60 points in a half for the second time this season … it was the second time this season the Mountaineers shot over 60.0 percent in a half … Tyrell Johnson made a 3-pointer for the 6th time in his career … with 17 points, Ronshad Shabazz posted his 25th career double-digit scoring game … it was the second time this season the Mountaineers posted at least 25 assists … third time this season with at least 90 points … 2-0 in games scoring 100+ points … season-high 14 3-pointers … Craig Hinton, Matt O’Boyle and Kevin Kerley posted career-highs in points … shot 60.6 percent for the game (season high) … season-high six players in double-figures … Jake Wilson career-high six blocks.

 

Mountaineers Can’t Overcome Hot Shooting by Georgia Tech

ATLANTA - Appalachian State University (4-5) women’s basketball couldn’t overcome a 3-point barrage by Georgia Tech in an 81-52 defeat on Sunday evening in McCamish Pavilion.

Madi Story (Maiden, N.C./Bandy) drained a career-high three 3-pointers en route to an App State-best 14 points. Joi Jones (Duluth, Ga./Duluth) scored 11 points while Bria Carter (Spotsylvania, Va./Spotsylvania) notched 10 points and tied a team-best with eight boards. Ashley Bassett-Smith (Pickerington, Ohio/UT Martin) also brought down eight boards.

Bassett-Smith recorded two blocks as well, giving the senior 103 for her career and moving into sixth place all-time, passing Jessica Jank (2001-05). The forward is five blocks away from passing Brittany Mixon (2005-09) for fifth in school history. 

The Yellow Jackets (9-1) shot 51.9 percent from the beyond the arc after failing to shoot above 40 percent in any game this season. GT hit seven of its eight first half 3-pointers and 14 overall in the first quarter to run out to a 21-8 lead and never looked back.

Appalachian did cut the lead to 14 (31-17) in the second quarter after falling down by 21 thanks to a 9-2 run engineered by Jones and Story. The duo scored seven of the nine points during the spurt and looked like App was starting to establish some momentum.However, GT ended the half on a 15-4 run to go into the locker room with a 46-21 advantage. 

App State did perform better in the second half despite being outscored by GT, 35-31. After shooting 51.5 percent in the first half, Appalachian held the Yellow Jackets to 31.6 percent shooting from the floor in the second stanza. The Mountaineers held a 17-16 edge in offensive boards while assisting on 12 of their 19 field goals, equaling 63.1 percent (season best).

Appalachian received solid contributions off the bench, where Amber Driver (Houston, Texas/Tyler JC) scored a personal-best seven points, and Armani Hampton (Winston-Salem, N.C./Atkins) played a career-high 22 minutes and pulled down a personal-high six boards.

Cha’Ron Sweeney (17 points) and Antonia Peresson (15 points) combined for 10  of the Yellow Jackets’ 14 3-pointers, which was a school record for the hosts. 

The schedule doesn’t get easier as the Apps head to Knoxville for a 7 p.m. contest against Tennessee on Wednesday. The game will be streamed on SEC+.



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