College Basketball Roundup: No. 3 UNC holds off FSU for 10th straight win

Florida State guard Chandler Jackson tries to shoot around UNC forward Jae’Lyn Withers during the Tar Heels’ win Saturday in Tallahassee, Florida. (Colin Hackley / AP Photo)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — UNC had won seven straight Atlantic Coast Conference games by double digits. On Saturday, the Tar Heels showed they could win a game that was tight in the final minutes.

RJ Davis scored 24 points and freshman Elliot Cadeau added a season-high 16 to help No. 3 UNC rally from an eight-point deficit early in the second half and beat Florida State 75-68.

Davis shot 9 of 18 from the floor, although he made just 2 of 8 3-point shots, and surpassed the 20-point mark for the 13th time this season.

Cadeau shot 8 of 9 from the free-throw line and had six assists as UNC (17-3, 9-0) extended its win streak to 10 games.

Primo Spears scored 15 points for Florida State (12-8, 6-3). Spears had a steal and then a layup on the fast break to cut UNC’s lead to 70-68 with 2:36 left. But Harrison Ingram blocked a Jamir Watkins drive with 33 seconds left and the Tar Heels were able to make free-throw attempts down the stretch to seal up the victory.

“We don’t panic,” UNC coach Hubert Davis said. “There’s a calmness and a confidence about this group.”

The Tar Heels had to flex their muscle and did so, winning the rebounding battle 41-32 and pulling down 16 offensive boards. Ingram had 17 rebounds, including seven offensive boards.

Watkins had 10 first-half points as the Seminoles shot 16 of 32 from the floor, including 7 of 12 from 3-point range, to take a 41-36 halftime lead. But while the Seminoles quickly extended the lead to eight, 46-38, the Tar Heels within five minutes erased the deficit and jumped ahead 58-52 on Cadeau’s jumper with 14:03 to go.

UNC also didn’t give opportunities away in the second half. In the first 20 minutes, the Tar Heels’ 12 turnovers contributed to the Seminoles scoring 19 points.

“Going into halftime saying, ‘We need to take care of the basketball. That would fix a lot,’” Hubert Davis said.

UNC certainly did, shooting 19 of 24 (79.2%) from the free-throw line.

Florida State faltered for stretches in the second half, shooting 11 of 30 (36.7%) in the final 20 minutes.

While UNC won its 10th straight game, the Seminoles entered the month of January on a tailspin but finished 6-2 with losses to Clemson and UNC.

High Point 83, Winthrop 81

ROCK HILL, S.C. — Kezza Giffa scored a career-high 37 points and his short baseline leaner with one second left lifted High Point over Winthrop 83-81 on Saturday night.

Giffa also had five assists for the Panthers (18-4, 7-0 Big South Conference). Trae Benham scored 13 points and added six rebounds. Kimani Hamilton had 13 points. It was the 10th win in a row for the Panthers.

High Point rallied from a 12-point halftime deficit and took its first lead of the game 63-62 midway through the second half.

The Eagles (14-9, 5-3) were led by Kelton Talford, who posted 22 points. Kasen Harrison added 18 points for Winthrop. KJ Doucet also had 11 points and six rebounds.

Gardner-Webb 75, South Carolina Upstate 70

BOILING SPRINGS — Caleb Robinson scored 18 points as Gardner-Webb beat South Carolina Upstate 75-70 on Saturday night.

Robinson added 10 rebounds for the Runnin’ Bulldogs (10-12, 5-2 Big South Conference). Quest Aldridge scored 14 points, while Ademide Badmus finished with nine points.

Justin Bailey had 16 points and six rebounds for the Spartans (6-14, 1-6). South Carolina Upstate also got 11 points from Nick Alves. Jorge Ochoa and Trae Broadnax added eight points apiece.

Charlotte 75, Tulane 71

NEW ORLEANS — Lu’Cye Patterson hit four free throws in the final 23 seconds to allow Charlotte to fend off Tulane 75-71 on Saturday night.

Igor Milicic Jr. scored 22 points and also added 13 rebounds for the 49ers (13-7, 7-1 American Athletic Conference). Patterson added 14 points and six rebounds. Dishon Jackson finished with 13 points. It was the seventh win in a row for the 49ers.

The Green Wave (12-8, 3-5) were led by Kevin Cross, who recorded 16 points and five assists. Tre’ Williams added 15 points for Tulane. In addition, Sion James had 11 points, eight rebounds and two blocks.

Nik Graves led Charlotte with 11 points in the second half as their team was outscored by five points over the final half but held on for the victory.

Up next for Charlotte is a matchup Saturday with East Carolina at home.

Western Carolina 102, VMI 77

CULLOWHEE — Russell Jones had 22 points in Western Carolina’s 102-77 victory over VMI on Saturday night.

Jones had three steals for the Catamounts (16-5, 5-3 Southern Conference). DJ Campbell scored 20 points and added six rebounds. Tre Jackson finished with 19 points.

Brennan Watkins had 22 points for the Keydets (4-17, 1-7). Tyran Cook added 20 points, six rebounds and two steals for VMI. In addition, Taeshaud Jackson had nine points, 11 rebounds and two steals.

Both teams play on Wednesday. Western Carolina hosts Chattanooga and VMI hosts UNC Greensboro.

UNC Asheville 71, Charleston Southern 65

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. — Drew Pember scored 30 points as UNC Asheville beat Charleston Southern 71-65 on Saturday night.

Pember also contributed eight rebounds for the Bulldogs (14-8, 6-1 Big South Conference). Nicholas McMullen scored 12 points and added six rebounds. Caleb Burgess finished with 10 points.

The Buccaneers (6-14, 2-5) were led in scoring by RJ Johnson, who finished with 23 points and eight rebounds. A’lahn Sumler added 12 points and nine rebounds for Charleston Southern. In addition, Taje’ Kelly finished with 12 points.

North Carolina Central 65, Maryland-Eastern Shore 57

PRINCESS ANNE, Md. — Ja’Darius Harris scored 21 points as North Carolina Central beat Maryland-Eastern Shore 65-57 on Saturday night.

Harris added eight rebounds for the Eagles (11-8, 3-1 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference). Po’Boigh King added 12 points and also had eight rebounds. Fred Cleveland Jr. finished with nine points.

The Hawks (5-13, 1-4) were led in scoring by Elijah Wilson, who finished with 15 points. Maryland-Eastern Shore also got 13 points from Devon Ellis. Troy Hupstead also recorded 12 points and six rebounds.

Appalachian State 82, James Madison 76

BOONE — Tre’Von Spillers’ 21 points helped Appalachian State defeat James Madison 82-76 on Saturday night.

Spillers also had seven rebounds for the Mountaineers (17-4, 8-1 Sun Belt Conference). Donovan Gregory scored 14 points and added five rebounds, six assists, and three steals. Terence Harcum had 14 points as the Mountaineers extended their winning streak to six games.

The Dukes (18-3, 7-3) were led by Terrence Edwards, who recorded 25 points. James Madison also got 15 points and 12 rebounds from T.J. Bickerstaff. In addition, Noah Freidel finished with 15 points.

Elon 80, Hampton 74

HAMPTON, Va. — Sam Sherry scored 16 points as Elon beat Hampton 80-74 on Saturday.

Sherry was 5 of 10 shooting and 4 of 4 from the free throw line for the Phoenix (9-12, 2-6 Coastal Athletic Association). TK Simpkins added 15 points, and Max Mackinnon finished with 14 points. The Phoenix snapped a five-game losing streak.

Tedrick Wilcox Jr. finished with 16 points for the Pirates (4-17, 0-9). Hampton also got 15 points and seven rebounds from Kyrese Mullen. In addition, Jordan Nesbitt had 14 points, seven rebounds, six assists and two blocks. The Pirates prolonged their losing streak to 12 straight.

Syracuse 77, NC State 65

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — JJ Starling scored a career-high 26 points, Judah Mintz added 20 points, nine assists and four steals in Syracuse’s 77-65 win Saturday night over NC State.

Chris Bell hit three 3-pointers and scored 13 for Syracuse (14-6, 5-4) and Benny Williams scored eight of his 11 points in the second half.

NC State trailed by as many as 21 points in the second half but got within nine with 2 minutes to go. Two free throws by Starling, a dunk by Qadir Copeland and two more free throws by Starling helped Syracuse put the game away.

Mintz found Bell for 3-pointers 45 seconds apart, Starling hit a jumper and Bell followed with another 3 before his fast-break dunk capped a 13-0 run that gave the Orange a 10-point lead with 5:45 left in the first half. DJ Horne made two free throws to trim the Wolfpack’s deficit to 31-22 before Mintz scored the final seven points of the half.

The Orange have won six in a row against NC State (13-7, 5-4).

Horne led the Wolfpack with 15 points, Casey Morsell scored 10 of his 14 in the second half and D.J. Burns Jr. added 10, eight after halftime.

Mintz, who went into the game No. 7 nationally in free throws made (129) and free throws attempted (165), made just 3 of nine from the field but hit 14 of 20 from the foul line — both career highs. The 6-foot-4 sophomore has made 10-plus free throws in five games this season, including the last two.

The Orange had 10 steals and outscored NC State 20-9 at the free-throw line despite making just 63% of their 32 attempts.

NC State returns home to play Tuesday against Miami. Syracuse, after two weeks (three games) at home, visits Boston College on Tuesday.

Charleston (SC) 90, Campbell 67

BUIES CREEK — Ben Burnham had 16 points in Charleston (SC)’s 90-67 win against Campbell on Saturday.

Burnham was 6 of 10 shooting (3 for 6 from 3-point range) for the Cougars (15-6, 6-2 Coastal Athletic Association). Jordan Crawford scored 13 points, while Bryce Butler and Reyne Smith both finished with 12 points.

Jasin Sinani led the way for the Fighting Camels (10-11, 4-4) with 21 points and seven rebounds. Campbell also got 11 points and four assists from Laurynas Vaistaras. Colby Duggan also had 10 points.

Drexel 62, N.C. A&T 47

PHILADELPHIA — Shane Blakeney’s 12 points off of the bench helped Drexel to a 62-47 victory over N.C. A&T on Saturday.

Blakeney shot 4 for 8, including 3 for 5 from beyond the arc for the Dragons (15-7, 8-1 Coastal Athletic Association). Justin Moore scored eight points, and Lucas Monroe finished with seven points.

The Aggies (6-15, 4-4) were led by Kyle Duke, who posted 14 points and four assists. N.C. A&T also got 10 points and seven rebounds from Nikolaos Chitikoudis. Camian Shell also had nine points.

Stony Brook 86, UNC Wilmington 78 (OT)

STONY BROOK, N.Y. — Tyler Stephenson-Moore scored 22 points and Aaron Clarke added eight points in overtime as Stony Brook knocked off UNC Wilmington 86-78 on Saturday night.

Dean Noll hit a 3-pointer for Stony Brook that tied it 64-all with 41.4 seconds remaining in regulation. Trazarien White’s layup gave UNC Wilmington the lead before Stephenson-Moore’s two free throws with one second left forced overtime knotted at 66.

Stephenson-Moore and Clarke each made a 3-pointer as the Seawolves opened the extra period on a 8-0 surge and outscored UNC Wilmington 20-12.

Stephenson-Moore also contributed six rebounds for the Seawolves (11-10, 4-4 Coastal Athletic Association). Clarke scored 21 points, and Keenan Fitzmorris added 15.

White led the Seahawks (14-6, 5-3) with 26 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and two blocks. KJ Jenkins added 19 points and two steals for UNC Wilmington. Shykeim Phillips also had eight points and two steals. The loss broke the Seahawks’ five-game winning streak.

A 10-0 run in the first half gave Stony Brook a four-point lead. The teams entered the break with Stony Brook ahead 39-37, while Fitzmorris led his club in scoring with 12 points. Stony Brook was outscored by UNC Wilmington in the second half by a two-point margin, but still wound up on top, while Stephenson-Moore led the way with a team-high 10 second-half points.

North Alabama 90, Queens 84

FLORENCE, Ala. — Jacari Lane’s 27 points helped North Alabama defeat Queens 90-84 on Saturday night.

Lane added five assists and three steals for the Lions (9-12, 3-4 Atlantic Sun Conference). KJ Johnson scored 24, and Dallas Howell had 14.

Deyton Albury led the way for the Royals (8-14, 2-5) with 29 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists. Queens also got 18 points and 11 rebounds from BJ McLaurin. In addition, Jacobi Sebock had 14 points and 11 rebounds.

Mercer 70, UNC Greensboro 64

GREENSBORO — Jalyn McCreary scored 15 points as Mercer beat UNC Greensboro 70-64 on Saturday night.

McCreary shot 7 of 13 from the field for the Bears (9-12, 2-6 Southern Conference). Jah Quinones scored 12 points and added seven rebounds. David Thomas finished with 12 points. The Bears broke a five-game skid.

The Spartans (15-6, 6-2) were led by Mikeal Brown-Jones, who posted 19 points and 16 rebounds. UNC Greensboro also got 15 points and two steals from Donovan Atwell. Keyshaun Langley also had 13 points.

VCU 63, Davidson 58

DAVIDSON — Max Shulga scored 18 points as VCU beat Davidson 63-58 on Saturday night.

Shulga had five rebounds for the Rams (13-7, 5-2 Atlantic 10 Conference). Toibu Lawal added 13 and also had six rebounds. Zeb Jackson finished with nine points.

Connor Kochera led the Wildcats (12-8, 2-5) in scoring, finishing with 19 points and eight rebounds. Reed Bailey added 10 points and nine rebounds for Davidson. Bobby Durkin also recorded eight points, seven rebounds and two steals.

Shulga scored 10 points in the first half and VCU went into halftime trailing 30-27. VCU trailed by nine points in the second half but went on a 7-0 run to narrow the gap to 49-47 with 8:12 remaining in the half before finishing off the victory.