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Sport Luke DeCock: Without fanfare or celebration, Roy Williams (finally) passes Dean Smith

08:05  26 january  2020
08:05  26 january  2020 Source:   newsobserver.com

After falling to Clemson, Roy Williams calls it the lowest moment of his coaching career

  After falling to Clemson, Roy Williams calls it the lowest moment of his coaching career After falling to Clemson, Roy Williams calls it the lowest moment of his coaching career

Roy Williams ran off the court with his head down, only raising it briefly to wave at someone above the tunnel That’s how Williams wanted it. Any celebration of him moving alongside and then ahead of Dean Smith Sports columnist Luke DeCock has covered four Final Fours, the Summer Olympics

[young kwak | ap]. By Luke DeCock . Published Jan. And it was a mere trifle compared to the emotions swirling around Saturday’s 6 p.m. game between North Carolina and Georgia Tech, when Roy Williams will have the chance to pass the late Dean Smith in wins after tying him with his 879th

Video by ACCDigitalNetwork

Roy Williams ran off the court with his head down, only raising it briefly to wave at someone above the tunnel heading into North Carolina’s locker room. He looked for all the world like a man whose team had just won a routine January game.

Not a game his team desperately needed. Absolutely not a milestone win that put him ahead of his mentor in at least one respect — if, in his own mind, not many others.

That’s how Williams wanted it. Any celebration of him moving alongside and then ahead of Dean Smith in wins would happen when he tied the record, with his 879th win. It was duly celebrated then, way back in 2019, after a win over Yale. There would be no acknowledgment of him actually passing Smith. It would have been, to Williams, disrespectful.

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Can Roy Williams pass Dean Smith ? Or will Clemson finally win at UNC? Francis did, however, play. He finished with two points and was 1 of 9 from the floor. The Tar Heels are without starting point guard Cole Anthony, who is expected to miss at least one more week as he recovers from a knee injury.

Watch UNC coach Roy Williams as he remembers Coach Dean Smith during a service honoring the late coach in Chapel Hill, Feb. 22, 2015

So that was the plan, when the moment of 880 arrived. If not against Georgia Tech, then against Pittsburgh, and if not either of those, then certainly Clemson. Of course, Clemson.

BOX SCORE: NORTH CAROLINA 94, MIAMI 71

And then, the four long weeks, the five long games, loss after loss after loss after loss after loss. The Tar Heels left Chapel Hill for two games … and then returned with Smith and Williams still tied. When became if as the losses mounted, the confidence evaporated, the walls closed in.

“We were shook, shaken, whatever word you want to use,” Williams said.

By the time Williams ran off the court Saturday, there was no doubt. The Tar Heels had run into a team even more ragged and wounded than they were, Miami down to six scholarship players, none of them Chris Lykes or Kameron McGusty, playing zone in a desperate attempt to stay out of foul trouble.

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By Luke DeCock . They have seven national championships and 19 Final Fours between them, but time always wins in the end. While both are still clearly as capable as ever, the past two weeks have been a reminder that their health may have more to say about when they stop coaching than they will.

Luke DeCock . ldecock@newsobserver.com. Last week in Greensboro, Williams passed Phog Allen on the all-time victory list. Now, he has has caught up with his mentor in NCAA tournament victories. There's something poetic about Williams equalling Smith – and having a chance to surpass him next

The floodgates opened. The shots fell. The fans stamped their feet and had visions of biscuits in their eyes. The halftime lead was North Carolina’s largest of the year, in any game, at any point. Everything that had gone wrong for the Tar Heels suddenly went right, all at once.

“I would have been just as happy as if it had happened four or five games ago,” Williams said afterward. “I desperately wanted No. 9 for this team.”

Brandon Robinson, who missed the last game with the sore neck he suffered when a drunk driver hit his car, scored 29. Freshman Armando Bacot had a double-double. With 32 assists on 40 baskets and a lot of pointing to the passer, the Tar Heels briefly chased triple digits in a 94-71 win.

Williams shared a moment of laughter with Cole Anthony on the bench in the final seconds over the intensity of the injured point guard’s celebration of a Brandon Huffman dunk. As the seconds clicked down, Williams walked down the sideline to a somber conversation with Miami coach Jim Larranaga — Williams, of all people, knew what it was like to be without a point guard unexpectedly — and made his way through the rest of the handshake line.

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By Luke DeCock . These titans of college basketball have the kind of job security that anyone but Supreme Court justices would envy, and both will have the final say over how and when their tenure ends, but while they can control who they recruit and what defenses to play and when to call timeout

Luke DeCock . Tar Heels make history, but not the kind they were expecting. North Carolina’s historically bad first half against Georgia Tech kept Roy Williams from passing Dean Smith in career wins, falling behind by a Luke DeCock . Finally , Hurricanes and Capitals have a rivalry to savor.

Then, with no fanfare, no announcement, nothing on the scoreboard, no recognition at all, Roy Williams finally ran off the court with one more win than Dean Smith.

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