Men’s hoops keeps its season alive with strong second half in win over San Diego

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Anthony Johnson raises up to shoot in a game at the Big Sky Tournament in Reno, Nevada. Photo by Domenic Grey

If the fans of the UNC men’s basketball team haven’t learned anything else this year, they’d know the Bears are never the same team that comes out halftime.

Head coach Jeff Linder must take a page out of Bugs Bunny’s book and give the team some of “Michael’s secret stuff” because they are a completely different team coming out the break.

The Tune Squad men’s basketball team used the secret stuff to come back and beat San Diego 86-75 to advance to the semifinal round of the CIT tournament.

“I let it be known at halftime what I thought,” Linder said. “‘If you guys want to end the season right now, let’s just end the season’. What I saw in the first half, that’s not how we got here. They needed to decide right then as a team if they wanted their season to continue.”

The pressure burst the pipes of the San Diego defense in the second half, as Andre Spight and Jordan Davis found their grooves.

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Spight rode the wave of the three ball to notch his 23th 20-point game of the season, while Davis continues to get in the paint and finish with contact. Spight was able to get some easy shots from Davis’s ability to force the defense to collapse into the paint, leaving shooters like Spight open.

We came out slow in the first half and we didn’t put a lot of pressure on them defensively, but in the second half we cut the lights on and started playing our game,” Davis said. “We applied a tremendous amount of pressure on them and was able to get the shots we wanted.”

Freshman Jalen Sanders continues to be the x-factor on defense the Bears need. He does all the dirty work and continues to reject shots that come into the paint.

He leads the team in blocks. His length and ability to guard one through five has created a lot of defensive flexibility for the Bears.

Milestones keep racking up for the Bears. Spight’s 26 points pushes him to third on the Big Sky single season scoring list with 792 points. Senior Anthony Johnson joined the 1000-point club as a Bear with his 20 points.

The lights in the Bank of America arena might get one more chance to shine on the Bears, as they wait to see who and where they play. Either way, UNC will be on the court next Wednesday.

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