• Key play: North Carolina’s Marcus Paige hit a three-pointer that capped a 12-2 run and gave the Tar Heels a 28-19 lead.
• Key stat: Kansas had 12 turnovers in the first half.
• Key play: Travis Releford opened the half with a three-pointer, kick-starting a 29-8 run in the first 10 minutes of the second half.
• Key stat: KU held North Carolina to 30.1 percent shooting.
Self takes down Roy — again
Kansas coach Bill Self picked up his 300th victory at Kansas while continuing his personal dominance over North Carolina coach Roy Williams. He improved to 4-1 against Williams, with the only loss coming during the 2002 NCAA Tournament while Self was still at Illinois.
“I don’t think it has anything to do with Coach Williams or me,” Self said. “I think it has something to do with on the three nights that we played, our team played well.”
Carolina’s 70-58 loss to KU Sunday was the third in three meetings against Kansas for Williams, the Jayhawks’ coach from 1989-2003 before moving to Chapel Hill, where he has won two national championships. Self’s Kansas teams beat the Tar Heels 84-66 in the 2008 Final Four en route to the national title and 80-67 in last year’s Elite Eight.
“It is not any more painful,” Williams said of losing to Kansas. “We lost to another basketball team. The fact I coached there 15 years is extremely important to me, but it doesn’t add anything.
“I hurt for myself. I hurt for the kids in the locker room. NCAA Tournament, the suddenness, the swiftness with which your season is over with is dramatic. It hurts everywhere.”
Williams said he still lives with every loss, including those when he was at Kansas, a school he took to four Final Fours without winning a title.
“In 1990, we lost to UCLA in the second round … I’m still (ticked) off about that because we were pretty doggone good. I thought we were good enough to perhaps sneak in and win the whole blessed thing.
“I remember UTEP in ’92 … Virginia in ’96. I can name every one of them, losing in the NCAA Tournament … Syracuse in the (2003) national championship game, my last as a coach at Kansas.
“Every one of them hurt.”
• Kansas freshman Ben McLemore continued his NCAA Tournament struggles with one of his quietest performances of the season on Sunday. He finished zero for nine from the floor and had just two points. Both were season lows. He also spent a large chunk of the second half on the bench.
“These last couple games, they really haven’t been my day,” McLemore said. “But I’m not gonna let that stop me. I’m gonna just keep playing my game. I talked to coach, and he’s just telling me they’re gonna really need me.”
McLemore, who shot two of five on Friday against Western Kentucky, said he didn’t think he was playing tight during the tourney. But Self said it certainly appeared that way.
“He’s gotta see the ball go in the hole,” Self said. “And the thing about it is with kids, and a freshman that’s never experienced it, there’s different pressures. You’re talking about expectations, Sports Illustrated and CBS deals, and he handles it beautifully. … But he probably was a little tight.”
• Kansas junior Justin Wesley suffered a sprained ankle at practice leading up to the North Carolina game and Self said he could be questionable for this week’s practices.
• KU senior Jeff Withey moved into second place on the NCAA Tournament’s career blocked shots list with 43 in 11 games. He passed Joakim Noah (41) and Shane Battier (42) and now trails only record-holder Tim Duncan, who had 50 in 11 games.
| Rustin Dodd, email@example.com