Roach with 32 pts-7 assists-6 rebounds
— Texas Basketball 🤘 (@TexasMBB) November 23, 2018
Guard Kerwin Roach soared for slams. He glided inside for floaters. He sank rainbow jumpers.
He did a little bit of everything in scoring a career-high 32 points as the unranked Texas Longhorns stunned No. 7 North Carolina, 92-89, Thursday night in Las Vegas.
“Happy Thanksgiving, Longhorn nation,” Roach told the FoxSports1 television audience. “This is for ya’ll.”
In defeating one of the blue-blood programs in college basketball, the Longhorns offset a team rebounding disadvantage (43-32) with season-high shooting of 52.5 percent from the field.
Texas also forced 17 North Carolina turnovers and turned them into 31 points.
Several players had key roles, including Matt Coleman III, Dylan Osetkowski and Jaxson Hayes, but Roach served as the maestro in orchestrating the Longhorns’ biggest victory of the season.
Roach filled up the boxscore with seven assists, six rebounds and four steals.
Furthermore, he shot 12 of 15 from the field to meet the challenge of negating a standout performance by North Carolina freshman guard Coby White, who scored 33.
North Carolina charged to a 17-4 lead, but Texas would not back down.
“We just stayed resilient,” Roach said on the FS1 broadcast. “We stayed within each other. We just played our game, and it came to us. We didn’t force anything. We played great defense and we played great offense.”
As a result, the Longhorns rallied to take a one-point lead at halftime and then extended it to 11 points in the second half.
The Tar Heels rallied to within two twice down the stretch, the last time when Nassir Little hit a three-pointer with four seconds left.
On the next possession, Longhorns guard Jase Febres was fouled and hit one of two free throws to account for the final score.
Texas deflected the ensuing inbounds pass on the last play, denying North Carolina a shot as the clocked ticked to 0:00.
North Carolina 5-1
Texas vs. Michigan State, at Las Vegas, 5:30 p.m.
“(Roach) gave us everything he had tonight. At the four-minute media (timeout) I turned to our strength coach and said, ‘I hope he’s got four minutes left.’ Because he did look winded. But he’s really fought, battled, got himself in unbelievable shape. Obviously he was everything for us in terms of creating offense.” — Texas coach Shaka Smart. (Interview with FS1)
In the past 15 seasons under coach Roy Williams, North Carolina has won three national titles. The Tar Heels’ last championship came in 2017. They were knocked out in the round of 32 last year by Texas A&M. In three seasons under Smart, Texas has reached the NCAA tournament twice but hasn’t won an NCAA game. The Longhorns, despite what was then a career-best 26 points from Roach, were ousted by Nevada in the first round last year.
Unreal performance by @whitecoby2 💫
— Carolina Basketball (@UNC_Basketball) November 23, 2018