TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — One year ago, the cramped locker room nestled in the Donald L. Tucker Center was silent, as the North Carolina men’s basketball team reflected on the 33-point drubbing it had just endured at the hands of unranked Florida State.
From those same four walls Saturday, after UNC’s 77-72 victory against the Seminoles, rang the sounds of celebration.
Guys were laughing, clapping and carrying on with their teammates beside them as they prepared to leave behind the arena that, for many, instills memories of both boundless despair and great relief.
Nearly a year to the day after UNC suffered one of its worst losses of the last 25 years — a 90-57 Florida State win — the Tar Heels found redemption in a 77-72 win. Here are some highlights from the game.
- Sophomore P.J. Hairston scored a career-high 23 points and made 4 of 9 3-point attempts.
- On his birthday, sophomore Jackson Simmons sunk the go-ahead shot — a lay-up with 3:09 remaining
- UNC outrebounded Florida State 41-19, grabbing 19 offensive boards.
In the corner, Jackson Simmons, the game’s unassuming hero, sat quietly, perhaps letting the team’s first conference victory of the season — and his career afternoon — soak in. After all, the 15 minutes of playing time the sophomore scholarship player saw were more than he ever expected.
“Every time I kept going back in, I tried to keep doing what I did from the first moment I stepped on the court,” said Simmons, who tallied a career-high eight points. “That was, do everything it takes to help the team win.”