Monday, April 23, 2018
Sports

Tar Heels assert themselves after half to bounce FGCU

RALEIGH, N.C. — Brice Johnson had 18 points and No. 1 seed North Carolina needed an overwhelming second-half start to put away 16th-seeded Florida Gulf Coast 83-67 in Thursday's first round of the NCAA Tournament.

Isaiah Hicks added 12 points off the bench for the Tar Heels (29-6), who led by just a point after a frustration-filled opening half in which the Eagles stayed right with the East Region's top seed. But UNC dominated the first 10 minutes of the second half, running off a 20-3 burst by controlling the boards and locking down defensively to build a 20-point lead.

That helped the Tar Heels avoid the unwanted history of being the first top seed to lose to a 16 in tournament history.

Florida Gulf Coast already owned a bit of underdog history, with its "Dunk City" bunch the first 15th seed to reach the Sweet 16, in 2013.

This would've topped that considering the game was in UNC's home state, where the Tar Heels haven't lost an NCAA game in 37 years. But by the end, this one looked a lot like those other 1-vs.-16 matchups, with the Tar Heels just too big, deep and athletic for the Atlantic Sun champions.

Christian Terrell had 15 points for Florida Gulf Coast, which shot 60 percent in the first half but went 2-of-15 to open the second.

At halftime, Florida Gulf Coast trailed just 41-40 to cause a mild wave of concern through the home-state crowd of blue-clad fans filling a rival school's arena.

But the Tar Heels started the second half with a 3-pointer from Marcus Paige, followed by a transition layup from Joel Berry II to restore a cushion. Minutes later, Johnson outfought Eagles defenders for a rebound and scored a stickback while being fouled for a three-point play that pushed UNC's lead to eight.

By the time Berry grabbed a loose ball and scored while being fouled for his own three-point play, the Tar Heels led 57-45 with 15:07 left. The margin did not slip below double digits again.

INDIANA 99, CHATTANOOGA 74: Yogi Ferrell had 20 points and a season-high 10 assists, O.G. Anunoby scored 14 and the fifth-seeded Hoosiers took charge of their NCAA Tournament opener in Des Moines, Iowa.

Thomas Bryant had 13 points and Troy Williams 12 points and eight rebounds for Indiana (26-7), whose high-powered offense was in prime form. The Hoosiers shot 37-of-57 from the floor for 64.9 percent. Anunoby, a long-armed freshman forward, was 6-of-7 with a highlight-reel array of 3-pointers and dunks.

Duke Ethridge had 14 points and Justin Tuoyo 12 for the No. 12 seed Mocs, whose stellar first season under coach Matt McCall came to a screeching end.

The Hoosiers dodged the 5-12 danger that eliminated Baylor and Big Ten rival Purdue and did their part to set up a possible second-round matchup of storied programs. Indiana will play the Stony Brook-Kentucky winner Saturday.

Ferrell, the fiery point guard who is generously listed at 6 feet, has never advanced past the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament and is aiming to extend an impeccable college career by another week or two.

Comments
Alex Cobb and Logan Morrison have ex-Ray vision. Here’s what they see.

Alex Cobb and Logan Morrison have ex-Ray vision. Here’s what they see.

ST. PETERSBURG — Absolutely, Alex Cobb was saying over the phone, it's going to be weird pitching Tuesday against the Rays.The organization that he owes so much for rearing him since high school, standing by him through assorted injuries, enabl...
Updated: 26 minutes ago
Shaquem Griffin on TODAY show: ‘I’m not limited to nothing’

Shaquem Griffin on TODAY show: ‘I’m not limited to nothing’

Shaquem Griffin's ability to play football without a left hand has made him the talk of the NFL draft. But the former Lakewood High and UCF star is determined to silence such talk with his play."It gets tiring," Griffin said today...
Updated: 1 hour ago
HomeTeam 25: Softball rankings for Tampa Bay

HomeTeam 25: Softball rankings for Tampa Bay

1. Sunlake (22-1)Up next: Wednesday vs. Clearwater-Northeast winner (7A-10 semifinals)The buzz: The Seahawks beat Anclote, Gulf and Zephyrhills last week to extend their win streak to 16, currently the longest in the area. Sunlake has been dominant, ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Polly want a sacker: Bucs’ 4th-round draft pick to be delivered by parrot

Polly want a sacker: Bucs’ 4th-round draft pick to be delivered by parrot

Late-round NFL draft picks are often made on a wing and a prayer.The Bucs' fourth-round pick Saturday will be no different. The team announced Monday that as part of the NFL draft TV broadcast, the team's fourth-round pick will be delivered to an ann...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Projecting where USF’s prospects will get drafted

Projecting where USF’s prospects will get drafted

For all the analyses and hypotheses, all the Mels and McShays, all the pro days and private workouts, the NFL draft remains a crap shoot at its core.But just for kicks, we're rolling the dice anyway.As a prelude to what could — could — be...
Updated: 4 hours ago
USF baseball cracks top 25

USF baseball cracks top 25

For the first time this season, USF's baseball team has cracked the national rankings.The Bulls (26-14, 9-6), coming off series wins against UCF and No. 7 East Carolina, are No. 20 in the latest Baseball America weekly poll. USF, winner of five of it...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Swimmer Michael Phelps to headline Crystal Lagoon grand opening Saturday

Swimmer Michael Phelps to headline Crystal Lagoon grand opening Saturday

WESLEY CHAPEL — Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps will splash down Saturday at the Crystal Lagoon in Wesley Chapel’s Epperson development.Phelps, a global ambassador for Crystal Lagoons, will appear at the grand opening of the first Crystal Lagoon...
Updated: 5 hours ago
How Deon Cain went from lifelong quarterback to NFL-bound receiver

How Deon Cain went from lifelong quarterback to NFL-bound receiver

TAMPA — Ricky Sailor thought his colleague had lost his mind.Sailor's Unsigned Preps 7-on-7 team had one of the area's most promising young quarterbacks, Deon Cain. So why would one of his coaches, Carlos Blake, want to risk injury and burn bri...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Rays win on Carlos Gomez’s walkoff home run

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Rays win on Carlos Gomez’s walkoff home run

Carlos Gomez, who had been struggling, delivers a two-run, walkoff home run as the Rays sweep the Twins for the first time at Tropicana Field. Rick Stroud discusses the moment and the celebration that followed Gomez's first career walkoff hit in toda...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Captain’s Corner: Warming weather brings permit to wrecks, ledges

Captain’s Corner: Warming weather brings permit to wrecks, ledges

As water temperatures continue to climb, more and more permit are showing up on wrecks and ledges off the Suncoast area. These highly prized members of the jack family appear every spring and gather into large aggregations for spawning. Most of this ...
Updated: 13 minutes ago