Syracuse vs North Carolina

No. 9 UNC tops Syracuse 85-68 for Williams' 800th career win

Associated Press
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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) North Carolina coach Roy Williams stood at midcourt, looking to the Smith Center rafters to watch video messages from former players congratulating him on his 800th win.

The Hall of Famer didn't wait very long before turning his attention back to the present.

''It's a special moment, but you know what I really love?'' Williams asked the crowd as he pointed to his current players. ''No. 17, for this team.''

Williams became the ninth Division I coach to reach 800 wins with the ninth-ranked Tar Heels' 85-68 victory against Syracuse on Monday night, keeping them near the top of the Atlantic Coast Conference standings.

Isaiah Hicks scored 20 points for UNC (17-3, 5-1), which shot 52 percent and never trailed after the game's opening possession. The Tar Heels led 42-30 at halftime and then stayed a step ahead of the hot-shooting Orange after the break to give Williams the milestone win.

The 66-year-old Williams noted it had been a difficult few years, a stretch that includes the 2015 death of mentor Dean Smith and a multiyear NCAA academic investigation continuing to hang over the school.

''From 700 to 800 (wins), the kids have been my salvation,'' Williams said. ''You guys know the junk that's been going on. I've taken a lot of it personally and I was not involved. But if it wasn't for the kids and the way they've made me feel and made me really enjoy coaching and enjoy life everyday - that's the special thing.''

Williams reached 800 wins in his 29th season as a head coach, with 418 of those coming in 15 years at Kansas. He joined a list that included the man on the opposing sideline: Syracuse's Jim Boeheim.

''He's getting as old as me - that's how you get to those numbers,'' Boeheim quipped.

''He's one of the top coaches who have ever coached in college basketball, I believe,'' Boeheim continued. ''If you look at his numbers at Kansas and here, what he's done, there's very few people who have done that.''

Tyler Lydon scored 26 points for Syracuse (11-8, 3-3), which got as close as three early in the second half, but never pushed ahead. The Tar Heels ultimately ran off a 7-0 flurry in the final 5 minutes to stretch the lead back out to 15.

BIG PICTURE

Syracuse: The Orange had won three of four since opening league play with a loss at Boston College, but they got behind and couldn't erase the gap even after spending the first 10 minutes of the second half shooting better than 70 percent. Syracuse finished the game shooting 44 percent and hit 10 of 24 3-point attempts, with Boeheim calling it his team's ''best road game.''

North Carolina: The Tar Heels played their second straight game without freshman big man Tony Bradley Jr. due to a concussion, but the duo of Hicks and Kennedy Meeks took care of the frontcourt production. UNC has now won five straight since its head-scratching loss at Georgia Tech in its ACC opener.

BOARD WORK

North Carolina finished with a 44-24 rebounding advantage, including 18 offensive boards that led to 20 second-chance points.

''We just didn't do a good enough job,'' Boeheim said. ''They were going to outrebound us, but tonight they got too many, too many second-chance points.''

HICKS' RUN

Hicks, a 6-foot-9 senior, hit the 20-point mark in consecutive games for the first time in his career. He also didn't pick up a foul for only the second time all year to avoid the foul trouble that has often plagued him.

''I would say it's just me doing trying to actually do the right stuff,'' Hicks said. ''Slide my feet, stay on the ground, don't worry about shot fakes, just play the principles rather than do something stupid.''

LYDON'S BIG NIGHT

Lydon finished 11 of 14 from the floor and made 3 of 5 3-point attempts to go with seven rebounds in 39 minutes. He's shooting 71 percent (17 of 24) in the two games since a two-point, 1-for-5 performance in a loss at Virginia Tech.

UP NEXT

Syracuse: The Orange visit No. 15 Notre Dame on Saturday.

North Carolina: The Tar Heels travel to Boston College on Saturday.

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Follow Aaron Beard on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/aaronbeardap

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More AP college basketball: http://collegebasketball.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP-Top25

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.

 
Scoreboard
Syracuse (11-8)303868
North Carolina #9 (17-3) «424385
CUSE:T. Lydon 26 Pts
CUSE:T. Roberson 8 Reb
CUSE:J. Gillon 6 Ast
UNC:I. Hicks 20 Pts
UNC:K. Meeks 12 Reb
UNC:T. Pinson 5 Ast

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PLAYERS OF THE GAME
SyracuseNorth Carolina
CUSE
Tyler Lydon
UNC
Isaiah Hicks
PtsRebsAstPtsRebsAst
26712081
Syracuse Orange
A. White III, G395-130-021415
T. Lydon, F3911-141-171226
T. Battle, G394-114-432113
J. Gillon, G381-71-20614
T. Thompson, F122-50-02224
T. Roberson, F273-70-08226
D. Akintobi-Adeyeye, F10-00-00010
M. Sutton, G10-00-01000
A. Autry, G10-00-00000
S. Belbey, G10-10-00000
K. Feldman, G10-10-00000
F. Howard, G10-00-00000
D. Coleman, C00-00-00000
P. Chukwu, C00-00-00000
J. Radner, G00-00-00000
E. Dourdas, G00-00-00000
B. Bayer, G00-00-00000
R. Featherston, G00-00-00000
M. Moyer, F00-00-00000
Totals 26-596-723141368
 44.1%85.7% 
North Carolina Tar Heels
J. Jackson, F338-191-1104119
K. Meeks, F327-101-2121215
J. Berry II, G314-70-011210
I. Hicks, F308-134-481020
K. Williams, G272-70-01416
T. Pinson, G/F142-42-45537
L. Maye, F134-50-20228
N. Britt, G120-10-00300
S. Woods, G30-20-23110
S. White, G10-00-00000
K. Coker, G10-00-00000
B. Robinson, G10-00-00010
S. Rush, F10-00-00000
A. Rohlman, F10-00-01000
T. Bradley, F00-00-00000
Totals 35-688-1541221385
 51.5%53.3% 
ACC
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
N. Carolina14-433-75
Florida St.12-626-914
Louisville12-625-97
Notre Dame12-626-1023
Duke11-728-96
Virginia11-723-1118
Va. Tech10-822-1148
Miami (Fla.)10-821-1242
Syracuse10-819-1584
Wake Forest9-919-1439
Georgia Tech8-1021-16106
Clemson6-1217-1668
Pittsburgh4-1416-1774
NC State4-1415-17141
Boston College2-169-23219
 
Other games
MU 80 Final
BUTL 88
CREI 72 Final
XAV 67
SETON 46 Final
NOVA 76
KAN 76 Final
IAST 72