Virginia was all Curtis Staples in the first half. North Carolina was all defense in the second half.
The top-ranked Tar Heels held Virginia to 12 points in the second half of a 60-45 victory Wednesday night, the Cavaliers' fourth loss this season to a No. 1 team."It was just one of those things where in the second half we just came together defensively." said Tar Heels forward Antawn Jam-i-son, who outscored Virginia by one point in the second half.
"In the first half, we were missing easy shots, and they were hitting everything," said Jamison, who finished with 19 points and 14 rebounds. "We clamped down defensively at the end of the half, then played Carolina basketball offensively and defensively after that."
That meant a sixth straight loss for the Cavaliers (10-14, 2-9 Atlantic Coast Conference), who had the home crowd thinking upset as Staples had six 3-pointers in the first half, the last of which gave Virginia a 31-17 lead with 3:15 left.
With Ed Cota covering him, Staples hit his last 3 - and final points of the game - with 17:56 to play. North Carolina (25-1, 11-1) was in a 22-5 run that gave it the lead for good.
North Carolina's six-man rotation was cut by one when Sham-mond Williams, who scored a career-high 42 points on Sunday in a double-overtime win over Georgia Tech, played just four minutes after having a disagreement with coach Bill Guthridge.
NO. 16 WEST VIRGINIA 80, NO. 6 CONNECTICUT 62: Senior guard Greg Jones scored 18 points in his first career start as the Mountaineers (20-4, 10-4) moved into contention for first place in the Big East 6, tied with St. John's, one-half game behind Connecticut (21-4, 10-3). Jones' 3-pointer capped a 10-1 run that gave West Virginia a 67-52 lead.
NO. 7 KENTUCKY 80, TENNESSEE 74: Scott Padgett, scoreless in the first half, scored Kentucky's first eight points of the second half and made a 3-pointer late in the game as the Wildcats (22-3, 10-1 Southeastern Conference) beat the Volunteers for the 11th straight time. Nazr Mohammed had 21 points and 16 rebounds for Kentucky, while Padgett finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds.
NO. 15 SOUTH CAROLINA 74, ALABAMA 63: Herbert Lee Davis scored 16 points and Ryan Stack added 15 points and 11 rebounds as the Gamecocks (18-4, 8-3 Southeastern Conference) rebounded from their upset loss to Tennessee to win their 20th straight home game.
NO. 18 MISSISSIPPI 87, VANDERBILT 76: Keith Carter had 17 points and Ansu Sesay 14 for the Rebels (16-5, 7-4 Southeastern Conference), who extended their school-record homecourt winning streak to 18 games by hitting a season-high 11 3-pointers.
NO. 21 MICHIGAN 76, OHIO ST. 68: Louis Bullock scored 22 points for the Wolverines (18-7, 8-4 Big Ten), who learned earlier in the day they would be without starting forward Maceo Baston for two weeks after he sustained a chip fracture in his foot.
NO. 24 MARYLAND 78, NORTH CAROLINA ST. 63: Rodney Elliott scored 19 points as the Terrapins (15-7, 8-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) improved to 11-1 at home.