Butler advanced in the quarterfinals of the EA Sports Maui Invitational on a dramatic last second three pointer over Marquette. In the Semifinals, the Bulldogs built a 29 point advantage and despite a huge Tar Heel comeback, advanced to the Championship Game 82-71.
In the first real test for this young Tar Heel team, Butler came at them with fundamental skills, physical play and hot three point shooting and jumped out to a 17 point halftime lead.
The Bulldogs went 12-25 from behind the three point arch and dominated the glass with a 36-27 advantage in rebounding.
North Carolina looked out of sorts with tentative shots and struggled to get into a flow offensively. James Michael McAdoo could not find his stride from the interior with only 10 points and 5 rebounds and turned the ball over 7 times.
P.J. Hairston led the team in scoring with 15 coming off the bench. Marcus Paige and Reggie Bullock each had 13 points and Paige dished out 5 assists.
Meanwhile it was Rotnei Clarke and Kellen Dunham with 17 points combining for 9 of Butler's three point makes.
North Carolina picked things up in the second half chipping away at the huge lead inspired by intense defensive pressure. They were able to reduce the lead to 6 points late but could not close the gap any further.
"We just dug too big a hole against a very, very good team," Coach Roy Williams commented after the game.
The 9th ranked Tar Heels will play in the third place game tonight against a Chaminade team who defeated Texas on Monday. Tip off is at 7:30pm.
After finishing business in Hawaii, the Tar Heels will head to Bloomington, Indiana to face top ranked Indiana as part of the Big Ten-ACC Challenge before finally returning home to Chapel Hill to face UAB on December 1.
(AP Photo/Eugene Tanner)