by Rick Brewer, Sports Information Director Emeritus
February 13, 2005
Carolina 77, Connecticut 70
HARTFORD, Conn. -- Rashad McCants and Raymond Felton had big second halves to help No. 2 Carolina beat No. 19 Connecticut 77-70.
McCants scored 11 of his 15 points in the second half for the Tar Heels, while Felton had 14 of his 16 points and seven of his 10 assists in the final 20 minutes.
The Tar Heels committed only four turnovers in the second half while forcing the Huskies into 13 of their 22.
"We gave in to great defense. We came apart," Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun said. "We weren't mentally tough enough to stay in our offense and the turnovers led to fast-break baskets."
And it was McCants, Felton and Sean May, who had 16 points and 13 rebounds, who made the difference.
Connecticut led 34-31 after a first half that was played at the pace the Huskies were looking for. The second half was more to the liking of the Tar Heels, who led the nation in scoring at 91.2 points per game.
Felton hit a 3-pointer with 12:10 left to break the game's final tie and give Carolina a 51-48 lead. That started a 16-6 run that was capped with McCants' only 3 of the game that made it 64-54 with 7:54 to go.
McCants started the game by missing seven of his first nine shots, but the 3 capped a run where he made four of six shots from the field and scored nine points in as many minutes.
When Connecticut closed within 67-63 on a driving basket by Marcus Williams, McCants was the key to an 8-0 Tar Heel run - although he had only two points during the spurt.
He came up with an offensive rebound on the missed front end of a 1-and-1 by Marvin Williams and fed it back to him for a basket. Then he made a pass to Williams on the wing and the freshman hit a jumper as the shot clock expired that made it 73-63 with 1:48 left.
Jawad Williams added 17 points for Carolina.
The win pushed Carolina's record to 20-3, the school's 47th 20-win season in 95 years.