Virginia Tech run over by UNC

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Virginia Tech run over by UNC

By Joedy McCreary
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) -- Gio Bernard outrushed the entire Virginia Tech team on a single carry -- twice. He had a career day against a traditionally tough Hokies defense that doesn't allow many of those. Yes, this was quite a statement -- not just for himself, but for the future of his North Carolina team. Bernard rushed for a personal-best 262 yards with a key long touchdown to lead the Tar Heels past slumping Virginia Tech 48-34 on Saturday. "People are probably going to say that they're having an off year, but it doesn't matter," Bernard said. "We just wanted to show everybody what we could do, and we knew what we could do." Sean Tapley returned a kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown and added a 19-yard scoring catch from Bryn Renner for the Tar Heels (4-2, 1-1 Atlantic Coast Conference), who won their third straight, rolled up 533 total yards and claimed their first home victory over the Hokies (3-3, 1-1) since 1938. "It's still early in the year, but ... this was a great measuring stick for us," North Carolina coach Larry Fedora said. "This was Virginia Tech. They dominated the Coastal Division, and we needed to go out there and play a complete game against them." A.J. Blue had touchdown runs of 1 and 13 yards, and Renner finished 17 of 30 for 194 yards with a touchdown pass and a 4-yard scoring run. Virginia Tech's Logan Thomas was 26 of 49 for 354 yards with a 13-yard touchdown run and two long touchdown passes, and Demitri Knowles took a kickoff 93 yards for a TD for the young Hokies, who are off to their worst start since opening 2-3-1 in 1992. "I don't think it's time for excuses," coach Frank Beamer said. "I think it's time for results." Bernard surpassed his previous best of 165 yards set last year against Duke, and nobody has rushed for more yards against a Virginia Tech team. "That doesn't happen against Virginia Tech very much," Beamer said. Bernard also became the Tar Heels' first 200-yard rusher since Ronnie McGill rolled up 244 against Wake Forest in 2003. Virginia Tech finished with just 40 yards rushing. Bernard had two rushes that each surpassed that -- a 51-yarder that pushed him past the 200-yard mark and a 62-yard touchdown on a fourth-and-1 on the first play of the second quarter that put the Tar Heels ahead to stay. "He's standing there, and I said, Look, you've got to get six inches here,'" Fedora said. "And he was like, Well, I'll get more than that.'" North Carolina began to pull away midway through the third quarter, going ahead 35-20 on the Renner-to-Tapley touchdown pass before Knowles took the ensuing kickoff back for a touchdown. Virginia Tech went for two, trying to make it a one-score game, but Thomas' pass over the middle didn't have a chance, and the Tar Heels scored the next two times they touched the ball. Casey Barth kicked field goals of 44 and 40 yards for North Carolina. Its 48 points were the most scored in the series by either team, and the Tar Heels gained at least 500 total yards for the third time under their new coach. "I came to Virginia Tech because we're known to play great defense," defensive end James Gayle said. "I feel like today we let the team down." Thomas threw an early 49-yard touchdown pass to Marcus Davis and added a 66-yarder to Corey Fuller with 8:55 left for the Hokies, who lost for just the sixth time in 33 ACC road games. The Tar Heels entered outscoring their previous three opponents at Kenan Stadium by a combined 155-6 and hadn't allowed a touchdown at home all season. Thomas didn't need much time to end that streak, bursting through on a 13-yard keeper to make it 7-0 barely 2 minutes in. Tapley then tied it -- and started the Tar Heels' scoring binge -- by taking the ensuing kickoff back for a touchdown. That was the first kick return for a score against Tech since 1993, the longest streak in the country. "Sometimes in life you kind of need a little jump -- a little jumper cable, I guess you could say," Bernard said, "and for the most part, Tap was that jumper cable."

Justin Jackson, North Carolina too much for Virginia

Justin Jackson, North Carolina too much for Virginia

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) -- Justin Jackson scored 20 points to help No. 10 North Carolina beat No. 14 Virginia 65-41 on Saturday night, keeping the Tar Heels alone in first in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Kennedy Meeks had all of his 13 points and seven rebounds after halftime for the Tar Heels (23-5, 11-3 Atlantic Coast Conference). They shot 47 percent and led by double figures nearly all night against the ice-cold Cavaliers.

UNC led 34-22 at halftime, never let Virginia closer than nine then ran off 10 straight points to take a 25-point lead and send the Cavaliers to their first three-game skid in a single season in six years.

Marial Shayok scored 13 points to lead Virginia (18-8, 8-6), who went 10 minutes without a basket at one point during the second half and missed its first 17 3-pointers for the game as the Tar Heels turned it into a rout.

Virginia shot 28 percent for the game and finished at 2 for 20 from 3-point range to go with a season-low point output, with every missed shot becoming magnified as the Tar Heels stayed in attack mode.

It was also was the second-lowest point total by an opponent in UNC's Smith Center, just a basket better than Clemson's 39 points here in 1995.

UNC finished with a 44-26 rebounding advantage, with much of that edge coming after halftime behind Meeks.

BIG PICTURE

Virginia: The Cavaliers offered up a worst-case scenario Saturday night. If Virginia's defense can't rattle an opponent, the Cavaliers' limited offensive punch gives them little margin for error.

UNC: This was one of several tough games for UNC coming down the regular-season stretch. Winning this rematch of last year's ACC Tournament championship game by a lopsided margin has to be a boost to an already confident team.

UP NEXT

Virginia: The Cavaliers return home Monday night to host Miami.

UNC: The Tar Heels have another big home game, hosting No. 8 Louisville on Wednesday night.

George Mason rallies late but falls to Rhode Island, 77-74

George Mason rallies late but falls to Rhode Island, 77-74

BY TYLER BYRUM

FAIRFAX, VA – Coming down the final seconds of the game, Rhode Island was able to hold off a resilient George Mason squad after blowing an 18-point lead in the second half to win, 77-74.

Stanford Robinson scored a team-high 21 points off the bench in a homecoming affair for the Paul VI Catholic High School graduate. From behind the arc, Robinson was a perfect 3-for-3 and brought down two huge offensive rebounds late in the contest.

In the final minute though, it was Robinson who gave the Patriots hope as he missed two free throws with less than two seconds left in the game.

Grabbing his fifth rebound of the contest to go along with 22 points, Jalen Jenkins threw up a full-court heave that was just a foot wide of the basket. 

From the onset, Rhode Island (17-9, 9-5) had the size advantage but was going against the NCAA’s best rebounding guard, Marquise Moore. Bringing down 31 rebounds, 14 being offensive, the Rams scored 13 pivotal second chance points. Moore, though, would manage to record his 17th double-double of the season (19 points, 10 rebounds). 

This was Moore's fourth straight double-double, which is helping his case as one of the favorites for the Atlantic 10 Player of the Year. 

E.C. Matthews was another one of the Rams to rack up the points in EagleBank Arena. With 18 points on 15 shots, Matthews kept the Rams alive after the team allowed the Patriots to go on a 21-3 run.

The Rams consistently shot over the Patriots with five players recording a three-point basket. In the first half, the team shot 54 percent from behind the arc and had rolled to a 39-26 lead at the break.

George Mason (18-9, 8-6) was able to climb back after an insurmountable 18-point deficit minutes into the second half. Highlighting the scoring run, Otis Livingston II (nine points and seven rebounds) was able to hit a fadaway to bring Mason within four and the crowd to their feet.

Throughout the contest, the Patriots drew 23 fouls and made 31 of their 36 free throw attempts. This kept numerous Rams in foul trouble and forced Dan Hurley to go deep into his bench and use 11 players.

“That was one that we needed desperately,” Hurley said “We’ve done a lot of soul searching; we’ve also dealt with a lot this year.”

The victory gives Rhode Island a much-needed win after falling to Fordham 53-43 earlier in the week. Moving up to third place in the Atlantic 10, the Rams now use the momentum from this game in order to climb back in the NCAA tournament bubble.

Falling in this game, George Mason now is on the outside looking in for one of the conference’s coveted double-byes in the conference tournament.