Fourth-ranked North Carolina hopes to avoid a letdown after recording an inspiring road victory when it returns home to take on dangerous Wofford on Wednesday night. The Tar Heels have won five in a row after rallying for a 78-73 victory at Tennessee on Sunday when they finished the game on an 11-3 run in their only contest decided by single digits this season.
“This will be good for us,” North Carolina junior guard Kenny Williams told reporters. “Every game in the ACC is like that. To have this experience and know we can pull it out, I think it will come in handy down the road.” Joel Berry II scored 21 in the victory for the Tar Heels, who are averaging 87.2 points and allowing 39.8 percent shooting from the floor with a plus-13.1 rebounding margin - second best in the nation. “They have confidence,” North Carolina coach Roy Williams told reporters after the win in Knoxville. “They have belief that if they do the right things, it will work. And I think confidence is always big.” The Tar Heels will have to come up with another strong defensive effort against Wofford, which owns a victory over Georgia Tech during its current four-game win streak and gets 24.1 points per game from junior guard Fletcher Magee.
TV: 9 p.m. ET, ESPN2
ABOUT WOFFORD (7-4): Magee, who stood fourth in the nation in scoring entering Tuesday’s games, shoots 59 percent from the field while draining 52-of-90 from 3-point range and is averaging 27.8 the past four games after scoring 27 against High Point on Sunday. Junior forward Cameron Jackson (11.8 points, 6.3 rebounds) and sophomore guard Nathan Hoover (10.8 points) also contribute to a team that connects on 48.8 percent of its shots. The Terriers are averaging 11 made 3-pointers - tied for 13th in the country - and Hoover is second on the team in 3-pointers made (25).
ABOUT NORTH CAROLINA (10-1): The Tar Heels limited 20th-ranked Tennessee to 37.3 percent shooting from the field and continue to improve on the defensive end. “(We’re) getting our guys to realize that the game might not be pretty, you might not hit shots but the one thing you can do is defend, get offensive rebounds, get defensive rebounds,” Berry told reporters. Junior forward Luke Maye leads the team in scoring (19.5) and rebounds (10.3) while Berry contributes 16.5 points and Williams adds 13.5, including 24-of-44 from behind the arc.
1. Magee has connected on all 29 of his free throws this season and is shooting 91.8 percent from the foul line in his career.
2. North Carolina freshman F Sterling Manley has drained 13-of-18 shots from the field the last five games and scored 10 versus Tennessee.
3. Berry needs one made 3-pointer to pass Hubert Davis for seventh on the school’s all-time list and three to reach 200 in his career.
PREDICTION: North Carolina 84, Wofford 66