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Off the cuff: Hubert Davis and his staff was coaching with heavy hearts. The Carolina announcing team was reporting the game with heavy hearts. Players wore warmup shirts with Montross 00 on the back.

After two straight loses against tough teams though, Carolina didn't have time to take a night off and grieve. This was undefeated and No. 7 Oklahoma.

Eric Montross would have enjoyed doing the color commentary of this game, which the Tar Heels led from start to finish. Fill-in color commentator Tyler Zeller did a great job by the way.

Montross touched his life and all the Carolina radio network crew. He touched every life he encountered it seems. He was especially good to kids, many who were fighting cancer themselves.

If I could say any one thing about Montross it would be that he made a difference. He made a difference playing for Dean Smith as he joined the program just after Carolina had its first season under 20 wins in many years.

He was a big difference on the court, helping lead the Heels to the 1993 NCAA title.

In nine years in the NBA, he wasn't an all-star but he made a difference on his teams as a good teammate that was well liked.

His promotion of the Carolina athletics program made a big difference. He gave of his time freely.

His announcing skills improved so much from when he joined the radio team 18 years ago. He made a big difference in easing the pain of Woody Durham's retirement.

To many, his legacy wouild be money raised in support of pediatric cancer patients - much of that a result of The Eric Montross Father's Day Basketball Camp.

Carolina newcomer Cormac Ryan was even touched by the death of Eric Montross, who was diagnosed with cancer in March before Ryan even came to Carolina.

"You realize how special it is to put on this uniform and be a part of this program," he said. "And you realize how fragile it all is."

Carolina 81, Oklahoma 69
Davis leads Heels over No. 7 Oklahoma


(Photo by UNC Sports Information)

North Carolina's RJ Davis continued his hot streak with 23 points to lead the Tar Heels over turnover-prone No. 7 Oklahoma 81-69 in Charlotte. (12/20)

Davis, who has scored at least 23 points in six straight games, led four Tar Heels in double figures. Armando Bacot had 14 points while Ryan Cormac scored 13 and Harrison Ingram, saddled with foul trouble, added 11.

"This was an important game for us," UNC coach Hubert Davis said. "We had lost our last two games and we wanted to get back on track. They are a good basketball team that deserves to be where they are."

The Sooners rose to No. 7 in the rankings after winning all 10 of their previous games. It was not only the first loss of the season but it was the lowest point output for Oklahoma, who trailed by as many as 15 points. The Sooners also shot only 40 percent.

Much of that was due to a stingy Carolina defense who had 10 steals, six blocks and forced 18 turnovers that led to 24 Tar Heel points.

Coach Davis said his squad did a good job denying Oklahoma from scoring in the paint. The Sooners, who never led, made a run late, cutting a 15-point deficit to just five with three minutes to play. During that stretch, Oklahoma scored on six straight possessions which included three three-pointers.

The Tar Heels responded with an 8-2 run to wrap it up. The highlight was an off-balanced bank shot from the left side at the end of the shot clock by Ingram.

Carolina got off to a hot start getting up by double figures at 12-2 in the first five minutes. Davis scored eight of those 12 to set the tone.

Up 36-28 at the half, the Heels extended the margin to 12 after Davis used a screen to bang in a three to make it 44-32.

The lead hovered in the nine to 12-point range for the next 10 minutes until Jalen Washington slammed home a dunk follow to put Carolina in control at 63-48.

Otega Oweh led the Sooners with 23 points as Oklahoma falls to 10-1.

The Tar Heels, now 8-3, head to the Christmas break before hosting Charleston Southern Dec. 29 at 8 p.m.

Box score


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