North Carolina coach Roy Williams is now among the top 15 most victorious coaches in men’s college basketball history. To get there he passed the coach whose name is on the building where Williams used to work.
UNC’s 70-60 victory against Louisville in the ACC tournament on Thursday was Williams’ 747th win as a head coach. He’s now in 15th place all time, just ahead of Phog Allen, the former Kansas coach for whom the Jayhawks’ Allen Fieldhouse is named.
Williams began his head coaching career at Kansas, and was there from 1988 through 2003.
“Wow,” Williams said on Thursday upon hearing that he had surpassed Allen’s victory total. “I’ve never even thought about that.”
Williams, who for 10 years was a UNC assistant before returning to the school in 2003, is 12 victories away from tying Henry Iba for 14th place in career wins.
“I’ve been very fortunate,” Williams said. “Had big-time players that were willing to take all my antics and screaming at them and then turn around and play better basketball in the second half like Brice (Johnson) did today. But I didn’t realize that. That’s pretty neat.”
Meeks’ return: Kennedy Meeks returned to the lineup Thursday, and not a moment too soon as far as the Tar Heels were concerned.
The 6-foot-8 forward, who had been ill with a still-undiagnosed ailment that resulted in a fever, sat out North Carolina’s second-round victory over Boston College on Wednesday after playing limited minutes in the previous two games.
But Meeks said he got the OK to play at the team hotel Thursday, and he contributed nine points, five rebounds and two blocked shots in 19 minutes for the fifth-seeded Tar Heels. His effort provided a solid 1-2 punch with forward Brice Johnson, who had 22 points and nine rebounds, and sends the Tar Heels into a semifinal meeting at 7 p.m. Friday against top-seeded Virginia.
“I felt like I could go pretty much,” Meeks said. “When I first went in, I was a little tired, a little winded. Coach (Roy Williams) told me it would be like that because I hadn’t played since Saturday (in the regular-season finale against Duke).”
Meeks scored some opportunistic baskets on stickbacks, none bigger than the one with just under four minutes to play. He followed on a miss by Johnson, then raced down to the other end of the court to block a baseline jumper by Terry Rozier that effectively set up the Tar Heels down the stretch.
Meeks’ return provides added depth for UNC’s third game in three days. Similarly, Virginia saw junior guard Justin Anderson return to the court after missing eight games with a fractured left pinkie and an appendectomy.
“Team’s great either way,” he said of the Cavaliers. “They play team ball either way, and he’s a great player.”
Getting technical: Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton downplayed a technical he received in the late stages of the Seminoles’ 58-44 loss to Virginia on Thursday in the ACC quarterfinals.
Mike Tobey had given Virginia a 46-39 lead with a dunk off an inbounds pass with 6 minutes, 1 second remaining, and on the next play Seminoles guard Montay Brandon was called for an offensive foul right in front of the FSU bench.
When Hamilton voiced his displeasure, referee Sean Hull teed him up.
Malcolm Brogdon hit the two free throws for the Cavaliers to make it a nine-point advantage, and Florida State got as close as six points just once.
“Well, we lost by 14,” Hamilton said. “(Brogdon) hit both of their free throws. I don’t normally get technicals. I think I may have gotten two technicals in six, seven, eight, nine years, so I think my record speaks for itself when it comes down to getting technicals. But I feel fortunate that it didn’t affect the game, if that answers your question.”