Rick Fox scored 21 points, including a clutch three-point shot with 1:55 to play, to lead eighth-ranked North Carolina to an 85-70 victory over Wake Forest in the Smith Center Wednesday night.Wake Forest was down only 77-70 with 2:40 to play. The Tar Heels went to their spread offense, worked the shot clock down to five seconds and Fox made the three-pointer from the corner with Robert Siler flying at him.
``That was the killer shot,' Wake's Dave Odom said. ``Until then I held faint hope we could come back. But it was a great shot by a great player under great duress. It was as clutch a shot as I've seen all year.'
The shot broke the back of the last of several mini-runs by the Deacons in the second half and lifted the Tar Heels to 7-3 in the ACC, 18-4 overall.
The Deacons saw a four-game winning streak snapped in falling to 5-5, 14-8.
George Lynch had his highest point total in eight games, scoring 17 by hitting six of eight shots. Hubert Davis added 12, King Rice 10.
In fact all the Tar Heels shot well. The Heels hit 33 of 59 shots for 55.9 percent and that precise shooting was needed to offset Wake's 39-33 rebounding edge. The Deacons yanked 19 offensive rebounds which enabled them to take 12 more shots than the Heels.
Freshman Randolph Childress led the Deacons with 17 points. Chris King added 16 and nine rebounds, while Rodney Rogers scored 13 and had 11 rebounds.
``I thought we played well, with one exception,' Carolina's Dean Smith said.
The ``exception' began at the 11:35 mark of the second half. The Tar Heels led 63-51 but committed four straight turnovers, the first on a lob pass from King Rice to Pete Chilcutt. Wake came up with three straight steals and when Childress scored on a layup, the Deacons were down 63-57 after an 11-1 run.
Smith called time.
``I'll take the blame for the lob,' Smith said, ``but not the next three. I called the lob.
``I don't like to do that (call timeout). After four straight turnovers they shouldn't need me to call time and tell them what to do.'
The Tar Heels came back and scored on a layup off a high post pass from Chilcutt to Lynch and Carolina pushed the lead back to 72-59.
Wake cut the lead back to 72-64 with 7:05 left, but scored only three more field goals the rest of the way as the Heels went to a sagging man to man to force perimeter shots.
Including Fox's three, the Tar Heels scored the last eight points of the game.
Odom said he changed the game plan from the one that led to a 10-point Carolina win in Winston-Salem three weeks ago. He trusted his big men to play good defense inside.
It backfired in the first half as the Tar Heels had 11 layups or follow shots in 20 baskets in taking a 45-35 lead.
``I was disappointed in our interior defense in the first half,' Odom said. ``But it's time for our inside people to grow up and play people without so much help. King Rice had five threes in the first game and we decided no more of that.'
Carolina was three for 11 on three-pointers for the game, with the big one coming from Fox.
The Tar Heel defense was also good, forcing 17 turnovers, including a season high five for Derrick McQueen and four for Childress.
Be the first to know
Get local news delivered to your inbox!