No. 8 UNC sneaks past Miami, 88-85, in overtime thanks to 33 points from Coby White
Miami senior guard Anthony Lawrence II (3) attempts to block a shot by UNC senior forward Luke Maye (32) on Saturday, Feb. 9, 2019 in the Smith Center. UNC men's basketball defeated Miami 88-85 in overtime. Maye scored 20 points for the Tar Heels.
Coby White couldn’t miss during the second half and the North Carolina men’s basketball team is 9-1 in ACC play for the first time under Roy Williams because of it.
White scored 23 second-half points, 18 of which came on 3-pointers, to help UNC (19-4, 9-1 ACC) overcome a seven-point deficit and win 88-85 in overtime against the Miami Hurricanes (10-13, 2-9 ACC).
With a chance to tie on its final possession of the second half thanks to White’s heroics, UNC did just that with a 3-pointer by senior forward Luke Maye, who sent the game to overtime.
Once there, the Tar Heels did just enough to avoid an upset loss to a depleted Miami team that entered Saturday’s game only 2-8 in ACC play. With the win, UNC has now won seven straight games heading into Monday’s showdown with No. 3 Virginia.
UNC scored its first two baskets on uncontested dunks, as Coby White and Luke Maye both picked off Miami passes near halfcourt. But, with three early turnovers of its own, UNC trailed Miami, 8-4, at the first media timeout.
More sloppiness followed, but the Tar Heels did use a small 7-3 run to pull within one point, 12-11, by the next break. The Hurricanes then fell into a few scoring droughts. That, combined with UNC’s 3-point shooting and seven points from Nassir Little off the bench, forced Miami into a timeout at the 5:27 mark, trailing 24-17.
The Hurricanes regrouped after that break, tying things up at 26. Maye then rattled off five straight points — two free throws and an and-one dunk — to give the Tar Heels one more small boost. Miami guard Chris Lykes hit an acrobatic layup with four seconds left in the half to make it 31-30 UNC at halftime.
After halftime, UNC’s offense was much improved. The Tar Heels connected on their first six shots of the second half and built their lead up to seven points to lead 47-40 at the 15:28 mark after a 3-pointer by White, who had eight second-half points by the first media timeout out of halftime.
Miami, which played just seven players, responded with an 18-5 run over 7:26 to lead 58-52 with just over eight minutes remaining.
Down by seven around the seven-minute mark, White hit an important 3-pointer to trim the deficit to four, but Miami’s Lykes answered with a bucket of his own, silencing the Smith Center crowd right after it got loud.
But White, who struggled early on with three turnovers in the game’s opening few minutes, continued to have a monster second half.
After a behind-the-back dribble to evade a defender, White drilled another 3-pointer to cut UNC’s deficit to three. After a steal and layup by senior guard Kenny Williams, White regained the lead for the Tar Heels with yet another 3-pointer, his fifth of the day with 3:20 remaining.
By that point, UNC’s best offensive play was a White 3-pointer. Afte Miami’s D.J. Vasiljevic hit one from distance to put the Hurricanes back ahead, White scored from downtown once again, putting UNC ahead 71-69 with 2:23 remaining.
Lykes, Miami’s 5-foot-7 ringer, answered back with a crucial 3-pointer of his own to put the Hurricanes ahead 72-71. After a missed 3-pointer by Cam Johnson, the Hurricanes extended their lead to four before White hit yet another 3-pointer to pull UNC within one, 75-74, with 41 seconds remaining.
A pull-up jumper by Miami’s Zach Johnson gave the Hurricanes a three-point lead. Out of a timeout, Maye forced overtime with a game-tying 3-pointer after Miami keyed in on White. At the buzzer, Lykes had a chance for the win but missed from distance.
Both teams struggled offensively at the beginning of overtime, but a 3-pointer by Williams put UNC ahead, 82-79.
UNC led by as many as five during overtime, but Miami got within one when Johnson hit a deep 3-pointer to make it 86-85 with 28 seconds remaining. After Johnson hit two at the free throw line for UNC, Miami, down by three, had a chance to tie the game and send it into double overtime. However, White stole the ball away from Lykes and junior guard Brandon Robinson ran out the clock to preserve the victory.
Who stood out?
White, UNC’s first-year point guard who set state scoring records as a high schooler, willed the Tar Heels to a win with his ability to manufacture points. When it looked like Miami had enough in the tank to pull off an unlikely upset victory, White countered with 3-pointer after 3-pointer on the way to tying his career high with 33 points.
Maye, meanwhile, hit the biggest shot of the day to send the game to overtime and finished with 20 on 7 of 15 shooting from the field.
For the Hurricanes, Lykes proved himself as one of the ACC’s best playmakers with his 27 points and Miami’s Johnson scored all 13 of his points in the second half and overtime.
When was it decided?
This one went down to the wire and wasn’t decided until Miami’s Lykes turned the ball over in Miami’s final possession of overtime.
Why does it matter?
UNC earned its best 10-game start in ACC play under Williams and had its mettle tested after things came easy during the past few games. Even though it didn’t come easy, the Tar Heels are still riding high going into Monday’s matchup with the Cavaliers.
When do they play next?
UNC hosts No. 3 Virginia on Monday at 7 p.m. It’ll be the first meeting between the two teams since the 2018 ACC Tournament in Brooklyn, when the Cavaliers beat the Tar Heels, 71-63, in the title game.