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No. 14 UNC beats UAB 102-84

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No. 14 UNC beats UAB 102-84

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) Leslie McDonald scored a career-high 24 points in his first career start to help No. 14 North Carolina beat UAB 102-84 on Saturday night.

James Michael McAdoo added 15 points and 12 rebounds as part of a balanced offensive showing for the Tar Heels (6-2).

North Carolina was coming off an ugly loss at No. 1 Indiana, but the Tar Heels regrouped with a win despite playing without starting freshman point guard Marcus Paige due to a shoulder injury.

The Tar Heels shot 53 percent and had six players reach double figures, though they had trouble putting away the program led by former UNC assistant coach Jerod Haase.

Jordan Swing had 21 points to lead the Blazers (4-4), who trailed most of the day but stayed within reach of the Tar Heels until the final 6 minutes.

The Tar Heels were coming off an 83-59 loss to the Hoosiers, which was the most lopsided nonconference loss for North Carolina since Roy Williams took over in 2003.

North Carolina shot just 28 percent after halftime in that one in a performance that did nothing to ease Williams' worries about his team's toughness - or lack thereof - following its loss to Butler in the Maui Invitational.

It didn't help that Paige was unavailable for this one after straining his left shoulder in practice Friday, leaving primary ball-handling duties to senior Dexter Strickland.

Strickland responded with a career-high nine assists, while McDonald turned in another strong performance in his return from a serious knee injury that cost him last season.

McDonald had set a career high with 21 points in the win against Mississippi State in Maui, then surpassed that by going 7 for 11 from the field and knocking down five 3-pointers.

Reggie Bullock added 17 points and P.J. Hairston had 16 for UNC, though Williams spent much of the day looking frustrated by his team's performance.

After the Tar Heels gave up a transition 3 midway through the second half, Williams ripped off his gray suit jacket as his team came to the bench for a timeout then slammed a clipboard down on the floor so hard that a marker flew straight up in the air above the huddle.

Later, when his Tar Heels tossed a ball away in transition, Williams picked up the ball and pretended he was ready to punt it into the stands.

Still, UNC scored 67 points after halftime to reach 100 points for the second time this season.

The game marked a homecoming for Haase, who had spent the past nine seasons as an assistant to Williams in Chapel Hill. It also marked a return for UAB assistant coach Bobby Frasor, who was a senior guard on the Tar Heels' 2009 NCAA championship squad. UNC fans greeted both Haase and Frasor with loud cheers during pregame introductions.

Haase's team responded by staying within reach of the Tar Heels most of the day until McDonald, Bullock and Hairston hit a flurry of 3s that helped UNC pull away in the final minutes.

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Possible playoff opponents for the Capitals are starting to come into focus

Possible playoff opponents for the Capitals are starting to come into focus

With their 3-1 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday, the Capitals' playoff future is starting to come into focus. Washington has only one game remaining and can finish in either third or fourth in the round robin standings. That limits the number of possible playoff opponents for the Caps when the games really start to matter.

First, before talking about who the Caps may play, it is important to remember why. Under the NHL's regular format, a normal year would see teams advance in a bracket, meaning each team knows going in they will be playing the winner of a specific matchup if they advance. This year, the NHL is going back to its old format of re-seeding after each round. This makes determining matchups a bit harder to figure out.

Here's what we know. The Caps are going to finish in the bottom half of the round robin meaning they will play one of the highest two seeded teams coming out of the qualifying round. The Carolina Hurricanes swept their qualifying round series against the New York Rangers. As the No. 6 seed coming in, Carolina is going to be one of the top two qualifying round teams.

RELATED: DEFENSIVE BREAKDOWNS AND MORE FROM CAPS LOSS TO FLYERS

Washington's final seed will be determined by Sunday's game against the Boston Bruins. A win in regulation, overtime or a shootout will mean the Caps are No. 3, while a loss in any fashion will bump them down to No. 4.

The simplest scenario for Washington is that If the Pittsburgh Penguins rally to win their series against the Montreal Canadiens, the Caps are guaranteed to play either Pittsburgh or Carolina as the No. 5 and 6 seeds, respectively. It gets a little trickier if the Penguins lose. If that happens, the Hurricanes become the top qualifying team and will play No. 4. The top team behind them then becomes No. 6 which, as of now, could be the New York Islanders, Toronto Maple Leafs or the Columbus Blue Jackets.

So a rematch with the Hurricanes is a definite possibility for the Caps, as is a matchup with the rival Penguins.

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Pelicans' star rookie Zion Williamson out vs. Wizards

Pelicans' star rookie Zion Williamson out vs. Wizards

The Wizards will have to wait until next year to face Zion Williamson for the first time.

The Pelicans' star rookie will sit out on Friday night as the Wizards face New Orleans at 8 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington. Williamson is resting on the second night of a back-to-back. The Pelicans played the Kings on Thursday night.

The Wizards also missed Williamson last July in the Summer League after he suffered a knee injury in his first game in Las Vegas. They also had one of their games this season against the Pelicans cancelled due to the NBA's long hiatus because of the coronavirus outbreak.

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Someday, the Wizards will see Williamson and when they do, it will be interesting to watch him match up with Rui Hachimura, who was in the same draft class and plays the same position. Williamson was the No. 1 overall pick and Hachimura was picked ninth.

RELATED: HOW YOUNG PHENOMS HAVE FARED AGAINST WIZARDS

For now, the Wizards will battle a Pelicans team headlined by Brandon Ingram, Jrue Holiday and Lonzo Ball.

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