When North Carolina senior forward Mike Copeland entered Saturday's game against N.C. State with barely any time remaining and the Tar Heels up double-digits it seemed like a routine garbage-time appearance.
But it turned into one of the most unexpected and exciting sequences of the game.
Copeland took a pass from Bobby Frasor as time was winding down and was fouled hard on the head by Wolfpack forward Ben McCauley with 1.9 seconds left.
Copeland then turned and moved toward McCauley as words were exchanged before the referee pushed the two players apart.
UNC coach Roy Williams eventually came out onto the court and sent Copeland to the locker room after both players were issued technical fouls. Copeland was not ejected from the game by the officials" and Patrick Moody came in to shoot the free throws.
""It was unfortunate at the end. I think we made a mistake" probably shouldn't have passed the ball in there to score" said Williams, who mentioned that McCauley apologized to him. It was a hard foul"" but there was no reason for Michael to react like that.""
Copeland also said the initial pass probably should not have been thrown"" and Frasor agreed.
""Probably not. Probably just take the high road and just dribble it out" dribble the time out but you know I came in with him. I want him to score I want him to get some memories Frasor said. But if I had known that was going to happen" I probably would've thought twice about it.""
Copeland said he regretted the incident and that he couldn't repeat what Williams said to him on the court.
""I made a bad mistake"" and I should've just walked away and shot my free throws.""
He also added that there was plenty of chatter going on with N.C. State and said that he thought McCauley ""wanted to fight.""
""All of them were talking. I couldn't really hear it because it was so loud" but I heard McCauley. He was just saying you know" ‘Come on.'""
The play provided a bizarre and tension-escalating end to what had been a fairly low-key rivalry game.
""He's an emotional guy. Sometimes he loses his temper" and a lot of guys know that Danny Green said. Plays happen" and you've just gotta deal with it.""
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