March Madness: Tennessee Slides Past North Carolina
Due to move-up deadlines Sunday night, we used wire on print side for the second game.
Here's a short Guru-written account on the action.
By Mel Greenberg
CLEVELAND _ Well, at least one piece is left from that projected all-Southeastern Conference final in the NCAA championship game Tuesday night.
Tennessee upheld the honor of the SEC by rallying from a 12-point deficit in the second half to beat North Carolina, 56-50, in the other NCAA tournament national semifinal last night at the Quicken Loans Arena.
The 20-2 run by the Vols (33-3) over the final 8 minutes, 18 seconds against the Tar Heels (34-4) indicated the North Carolina men did not have an in-house monopoly when it came to imploding down the stretch in the two tournaments.
Tennessee moves on to Tuesday night’s title game against Rutgers, which dispatched LSU, the other SEC team in the Final Four, 59-35, in the opening semifinal contest.
The Vols shot a paltry 27 percent from the floor, almost breaking the NCAA newly established low set earlier in the night by LSU’s 26.4 percent effort against the Scarlet Knights.
Candace Parker had 14 points and 13 rebounds for Tennessee, while Nicky Anosike also had 14 points.
Ivory Latta and Rashanda McCants each scored 13 points for the Tar Heels and Latta finished as North Carolina’s all-time scorer with 2,285 career points.
Erlana Larkins grabbed 11 rebounds for North Carolina.
Tennessee will be going for its seventh NCAA championship, while Rutgers will be in the title game for the first time.
``When we are down, we just turn up the intensity and turn up the press,’’ junior guard Shannon Bobbitt said of Tennessee’s comeback.
Obviously, the mood was slightly different on the other bench.
``I felt like we should have won the game,’’ North Carolina coach Sylvia Hatchell said. ``We have never lost to a team when they shot 27 percent. I feel like defensively we did the job when you hold a team to 27 percent.
Latta spoke of Tennessee’s pressure down the stretch.
``I could just say they played aggressive defense,’’ Ivory noted. ``We were trying to get the ball to Erlana in the post. They were definitely fronting her and doubleteaming and they just played aggressive defense.’’
Tennessee will be playing in its 12th title game and is 5-0 against Rutgers when the two have met in tournament competition.
The most recent was a year ago in this very same building when the Vols beat the Scarlet Knights in the regional semifinals and ended the collegiate career of Rutgers all-American Cappie Pondexter.