North Carolina 63, Notre Dame 61

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[March 04, 2014]  CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — No. 14 North Carolina 63, Notre Dame 61: James Michael McAdoo had 14 points and nine rebounds and Marcus Paige blocked a last-second shot as the Tar Heels defeated the visiting Fighting Irish to stretch their winning streak to 12 games.

J.P. Tokoto added 11 points and six rebounds for North Carolina (23-7, 13-4 ACC), which owns a 12-game conference winning streak for the first time since the 1986-87 campaign. Notre Dame attempted to force overtime, but Paige swatted aside a driving shot by Eric Atkins in the final seconds and Tom Knight’s ensuing basket came after the buzzer.

Atkins had 21 points and six assists for the Fighting Irish (15-16, 6-12). Pat Connaughton played on a twisted ankle and contributed 17 points and a season-high 13 rebounds as Notre Dame lost for the fourth time in five games.

Steve Vasturia’s layup gave the Fighting Irish a 56-54 lead with four minutes to play before North Carolina erupted with seven straight points for a five-point edge with 1:26 remaining. A three-point play by Connaughton got Notre Dame back within 61-59 with 52.1 seconds left and North Carolina’s lead was again at two after Paige hit one of two free throws with 6.6 seconds remaining.

Notre Dame trailed 41-27 at halftime before opening the second half with a 22-5 charge, taking a three-point lead on a basket by Zach Auguste with 13:12 to play. The Fighting Irish went the next seven minutes without scoring but North Carolina scored only four points during the stretch before Vasturia hit one of two free throws to tie it at 50 with 6:12 to go.

GAME NOTEBOOK: The winning streak is the longest for the Tar Heels since they won 13 straight during the 2008-09 season. … Fighting Irish C Garrick Sherman sat out with a dislocated finger. … Both teams struggled from the free-throw line – North Carolina was 10-of-22 and Notre Dame finished 5-of-12.

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