Paige leads UNC to 82-72 win over Richmond
Marcus Paige scored a career-high 26 points and Brice Johnson had another with 24 points to help No. 24 North Carolina bounce back from its first loss of the season with an 82-72 win over Richmond in the Hall of Fame Tipoff Tournament.
The Tar Heels (3-1) trailed for much of the first half, before making a run that sent them into halftime with a three-point lead.
They were up 66-62 with just under 4 minutes to play when Richmond's Terry Allen picked up his fourth foul. Johnson hit a put-back that started the run that gave the Tar Heels control of the game. A Paige 3-pointer made it 71-62 and North Carolina held on down the stretch.
Cedrick Lindsay scored 29 points for Richmond. Kendall Anthony added 13.
North Carolina will play the winner of Saturday's second semifinal between No. 3 Louisville and Fairfield in Sunday's final.
Paige scored 16 of his points in the second half and was 6 of 9 from 3-point range. The rest of the Tar Heels were 0 for 4.
Johnson added 12 rebounds, giving the sophomore his first career double-double.
Richmond jumped out quickly scoring 10 of the games' first 12 points.
The Tar Heels chipped away, tying the game on a Johnson jumper midway through the first half, but they didn't take their first lead until just before intermission.
Johnson's emphatic block, and two-handed dunk at the other end sparked an 8-0 that gave UNC a 38-33 advantage early in the second half. They stretched that lead to seven early in the second half before Richmond (3-2) came back. Lindsay's runner in the lane tied the game at 51, and the teams were tied again at 56 on a 3-pointer by Anthony.
But another 3-pointer by Paige stopped the Spider's momentum.
North Carolina was again playing without two key players. P.J. Hairston, who was the Tar Heels leading scorer a year ago, and senior guard Leslie McDonald didn't travel to the tournament because NCAA eligibility concerns.
Hairston and McDonald haven't played this year for UNC while the school and NCAA review their eligibility.
Authorities twice cited Hairston during the offseason while he drove rental cars linked to a felon. The school hasn't specified McDonald's issue, though it sent a letter ordering a company making designer mouth guards to stop using McDonald on its web site over the summer.
North Carolina dropped from 12th to 24th in the AP Poll after falling 83-80 to Belmont, the first loss by the Tar Heels to an unranked non-conference opponent at home since February, 2002. The Tar Heels missed 26 free throws in that game.
They were 26 of 37 against Richmond. The teams combined for 50 fouls.
Richmond was coming off a 74-63 overtime win against Hofstra. The Spiders beat Belmont 69-61 on Nov. 11 in Richmond.
Carolina has now beaten Richmond in 15 of their 17 meetings. But the two teams hadn't played each other since 1997.
Marshall 96, UNC-Wilmington 78
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (AP) — Elijah Pittman scored a career-high 35 points as Marshall cruised to a 96-78 win over UNC-Wilmington on Saturday.
Marshall (3-2) jumped to a 48-29 halftime lead, as Pittman scored 22 first-half points. UNC-Wilmington (3-4) kept the game close early, tying the score at 14 on Addison Spruill's jumper. But Pittman hit two 3-pointers over the next three possessions and the Thundering Herd began to pull away. Marshall took a double-digit lead on Chris Thomas' layup with 3:06 left that held for the rest of the game.
Marshall shot 59 percent (36 of 61) from the field and made 11 of 19 3-pointers, led by Pittman with a career-high eight. Kareem Canty scored 19 points and dished out 10 assists. Thomas had 15 points and Ryan Taylor scored 11 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for the Thundering Herd.
Spruill led the Seahawks with 19 points. Cedrick Williams added 18.
Missouri 72, Gardner-Webb 63
COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Johnathan Williams III grabbed a career-high 17 rebounds and Earnest Ross scored 17 points to lead Missouri past Gardner-Webb 72-63 on Saturday.
Missouri (4-0) only led by two points at halftime and foul troubles hampered its effort to pull away from the Runnin' Bulldogs, who were picked to finish second in the South Division of the Big South.
The Tigers won their 76th consecutive game at home against a nonconference opponent and their 21st in a row overall at Mizzou Arena.
Naji Hibbert and Jerome Hill both scored 17 points for Gardner-Webb (2-3).Hibbert, a transfer from Texas A&M, has scored 52 points for Gardner-Webb in his last three games after averaging 3.7 points per game in three seasons with the Aggies. He faced the Tigers five times when the schools met as members of the Big 12.
Virginia 75, Liberty 53
BY HANK KURZ Jr.
AP Sports Writer
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — Anthony Gill scored 13 points and Virginia scored 20 consecutive points in the second half and beat Liberty 75-53 on Saturday.
Malcolm Brogdon added 12 points for the Cavaliers (4-1), who started the game ranked second nationally in scoring defense at 49.8 points, then limited Liberty to eight points in the first 14 minutes after halftime.
Davon Marshall led the Flames with 15 points and Antwan Burrus had 12. The loss was the fourth in a row for Liberty (1-4).
John Caleb Sanders' 3-pointer pulled the Flames within 40-31 with 14:28 to play, but Joe Harris' tip-in started the Cavaliers' big run. Akil Mitchell followed with a dunk, Brogdon hit a 3-pointer and, before it was over, London Perrantes and Evan Nolte added 3s for the Cavaliers, pushing the lead to 60-31.