March 3, 2005
By AARON BEARD
AP Sports Writer
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) – Sean May scored a career-high 32 points and had 12
rebounds Thursday night to help No. 2 North Carolina beat Florida State 91-76,
giving the Tar Heels at least a share of the Atlantic Coast Conference
Freshman Marvin Williams added 17 points, and Raymond Felton had 15 for the
Tar Heels (25-3, 13-2 ACC), who have won 11 of 12 games to earn their first
league title in four years.
North Carolina, which played without scoring leader Rashad McCants for the
third straight game because if an intestinal disorder, can clinch the top seed
in next week’s ACC tournament – which would mark its first outright league
crown since the NCAA championship season in 1993 – with a home win against No.
6 Duke on Sunday.
Al Thornton scored 19 points to lead the Seminoles (11-18, 3-12), who have
lost nine straight games.
North Carolina had all kinds of trouble early with the pesky Seminoles, who
seemingly couldn’t miss in the first half and led 54-52 with about 13 minutes
to play. But the Tar Heels played better defensively in the second half, going
ahead to stay on a 3-pointer from Melvin Scott and gradually building a
May was key in that effort, going 13-for-15 and finishing with his seventh
straight double-double. That included hitting all 10 of his shots in the second
half, and scoring 12 points in a decisive run that put the Tar Heels ahead
81-68 with about four minutes left.
The 6-foot-9 junior reached the 1,000-point mark for his career with nine
points in the first half, making him the 57th player in school history to reach
the plateau. His previous career high was 28 points against Georgia Tech last
May led a balanced effort by the Tar Heels, who won despite missing McCants’
16 points per game. Felton had 10 assists and five rebounds, while junior
reserve David Noel had a career-best eight assists.
Florida State certainly surprised the Tar Heels in the first half, shooting
60 percent and hitting eight 3-pointers to lead 44-41 at the break. Waleskowski
and Thorton led that effort, combining for 24 points on 10-for-12 shooting.
And while the Tar Heels shot 53 percent in the half, that shoddy defensive
performance no doubt had coach Roy Williams seething in the locker room.
In the second half, the Tar Heels held Florida State to 11-for-30 shooting,
partly through better defensive intensity and partly from the Seminoles finally
coming back down to earth.
After Scott’s 3 gave the Tar Heels a 55-54 lead, May followed with a jumper
and an alley-oop slam off a feed from Felton for a five-point edge. He later
twice got loose inside off feeds from Noel, who also assisted on a 3 from
Williams during that run.
May punctuated his career night with a powerful slam for a 91-76 lead with
about 30 seconds left.