While Wisconsin were busy staying perfect and beating Georgetown 68-65, advancing to the final of the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament, North Carolina bounced back from a tough loss to an unranked team by beating UCLA 78-56, seemingly taking care of their serious rebounding problem.
This marks the second consecutive loss for #22 UCLA, with the game slipping away from them in the first half already. Marcus Paige finished with 21 points, including four 3-pointers as the problems that hurt the Tar Heels in the loss to Butler, mainly being unable to keep the Bulldogs off the offensive glass, were nowhere to be seen.
It was a consolation game for the losers in the previous day. UCLA lost to Georgetown and now with two losses in the span of two days, they’ll surely be out of the rankings next time they come out. They shot a terrible 1-of-14 from beyond the arc including a combined 0-for-9 effort from their backcourt, as Bryce Alford scored just 10 points and was still better than his partner, Isaac Hamilton, not getting a single point to his name.
It’s easy now for us to see the difference in how we played tonight versus how we played against Butler. The way everyone was into it, playing unselfish, flying around on defense, being active, that’s a more fun way to play. When you see the results as drastically different as they were, why wouldn’t you want to play that way?
Number two Wisconsin had a much harder time keeping it at a zero on their loss column. D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera was almost unstoppable, even more so than in the win over UCLA. He scored 29 points on 11-of-18 from the field, but Georgetown don’t have much more than him when it comes to offense, unlike Wisconsin, a bit more varied and flexible offensively.
Despite Frank Kaminski scoring just six points on 1-of-8 from the field against a tough to score again Georgetown defense, the Badgers got plenty from Sam Dekker, scoring 17 points and it was a very good game for Nigel Hayes, finishing with 15 points and grabbing 7 rebounds. The game kept going back and forth but some big plays from Dekker and Nigel Hayes in the end kept the Smith-Rivera storm at bay.
Wisconsin will play Oklahoma in the tournament final while Georgetown will face Butler in the game for third-place.