No. 8 North Carolina defeated No. 7 Louisville 74-63 at the Dean E. Smith Center Wednesday night.
The win gives the Tar Heels a two-game lead over Louisville, No. 10 Duke (who lost to Syracuse on a buzzer beater earlier in the evening), No. 19 Florida State, and No. 21 Notre Dame with three games left to play.
Unfortunately, Justin Jackson’s 21 points to lead Carolina and Kennedy Meeks’ 14 points and 10 rebounds weren’t the only thing people were taking about.
A UNC fan was ejected from the game after a halftime exchange with Louisville head coach Rick Pitino.
Pitino was heading into the locker room tunnel past the student section when he said an adult male “got in my face and said something I didn’t like.”
According to ESPN sideline reporter Maria Taylor, the fan said, “Pitino, you suck!”
Rick Pitino has to be held back by staff at the end of the first half after a verbal exchange with a fan. https://t.co/5D7t57zhaV
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) February 23, 2017
“I take it from the students all the time; you expect it from the students, But from an adult? And then to turn his back on me like he’s a coward?” Pitino said. “And he is a coward, but North Carolina is a classy place and he doesn’t speak for the rest of the people.”
Pitino had to be restrained by his coaching staff, ripping his jacket in the process.
“I’ve always said this is the classiest place in college basketball, until I met a fan on the way out,” Pitino said. “It always reminded me of a class place, but they’re getting just like some of the other places now.”
North Carolina head coach Roy Williams said he didn’t learn of the incident until after the game. He apologized to Pitino and addressed the situation immediately in his postgame press conference.
“Let’s get one thing cleared up. I just heard about one fan being ejected at halftime for yelling something at Rick. I don’t like that. We’re North Carolina,” Williams said. “We don’t have to be like everybody else. You can raise Cain, you can boo, but you don’t have say stuff that we, as coaches, have to put up with on the road. I hope that never happens again at North Carolina.”