The fans in Carolina blue left the Watsco Center disappointed Thursday night after the 17th-ranked University of Miami women’s team knocked off the Tar Heels 100-88 – first time Miami hit the century mark since 2011.
UM’s men are aiming for a similar outcome Saturday afternoon, as they play the ninth-ranked Tar Heels (19-3, 7-1 ACC) in 1 p.m. CBS game.
North Carolina is riding a seven-game win streak, and has won nine of its past 10. The Heels are coming off a 91-72 victory over Virginia Tech, the team’s seventh consecutive ACC game with 85-plus points, something no UNC team in school history has ever done.
Though they are known for their interior scoring and offensive rebounding, the Tar Heels made a season-high 14 three-pointers against the Hokies. Five came from Justin Jackson, who led the team with 26 points, and five more were by Joel Berry.
UM coach Jim Larrañaga has warned his players that they have to be play relentless defense in the paint. The Canes are 13-6 overall, 3-4 in the ACC, and squeaked by Boston College at home on Wednesday night.
“They have four guys that can score their brains out in and around the basket, and they throw it to them constantly,” he said. “We’re facing Kennedy Meeks. He’s a monster. They’re the best offensive rebounding team in the country, score a lot of points off second-chance, so we have to defend the rim.”
Senior Kamari Murphy agreed.
“We have guards that rebound, like (freshman) Bruce (Brown), so he needs to get in there and help me,” Murphy said. “Dewan (Huell) has to put on his hard hat , and not think about being a freshman. Ebuka (Izundu) needs to come off the bench, block, defend the rim. And I’m going to do whatever I do every night.”
The UM women (15-5, 4-4 ACC) return to the Watsco Center Sunday at 1 p.m. against Boston College. The Canes are coming off a dominating performance against UNC.
In the absence of Adrienne Motley, who missed the game with a family emergency, Jessica Thomas had a career-high 24 points and seven assists. She was one of four Hurricanes with 17 or more points, the most unexpected of which was Shaneese Bailey. After scoring just 10 points total in the previous 10 games, Bailey overcame a stomach bug, made her first start and scored 17 points.
“For her to have that performance – it was not quite Michael Jordan when he had the flu, but that was ridiculous because it was all effort plays,” said UM coach Katie Meier.
UM men vs. No. 9 North Carolina
When: Saturday, 1 p.m.
Where: Watsco Center, UM campus
Records: UM (13-6, 3-4 ACC), UNC (19-3, 7-1)
TV, Radio: CBS, WQAM-560 AM
Scouting Report: The Canes are 4-4 against the Tar Heels under Coach Jim Larranaga. Last time they met, in February 2016, No. 11 Miami lost 96-71 to No. 5 UNC. The Heels have scored 85-plus points in seven straight ACC wins. They are the top offensive rebounding team in the nation.