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The Daily Tar Heel

Recap: Comeback effort falls short as UNC loses to Michigan in Battle 4 Atlantis

First-year guard Cole Anthony (2) dribbles past opposing players in basketball game against Elon University on Thursday, Nov. 20, 2019. UNC won 75-61.

A furious comeback effort fell short for the No. 6 North Carolina men's basketball team (5-1), which fell to Michigan (6-0) on Thursday, 73-64, in the semifinals of the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament. 

The Tar Heels trailed by as much as 24 in the second half and cut the deficit to single digits late, but it proved too little, too late to prevent the team's first loss of the 2019-20 season.

What happened?

In the first half, the Wolverines sank five three-pointers and shot 51.7 percent from the field en route to a 39-34 lead at the break. They were led by guard Eli Brooks, who had 10 points in the half, while UNC first-year Cole Anthony had 12 points on 4-9 shooting.

The early stages of the second half saw head coach Juwan Howard's squad rip off a 19-0 run, putting the lead at 60-36 with 11:21 to play. North Carolina's shooting woes were most evident in that stretch; at one point, the Tar Heels were shooting 34 percent from the field for the game and a meager 11 percent from three-point range.

That was when the comeback effort began.

The Tar Heels used buckets from Brandon Huffman, Garrison Brooks, Anthony and Christian Keeling in an 11-0 spurt; later, a Brooks layup sliced the Wolverine lead to eight with 3:13 to go. It seemed a historic comeback could be in the works.

That would be as close as UNC would get, however. With 1:12 left, a Brooks three-pointer for Michigan would prove to be the nail in the coffin.

Who stood out?

Anthony led the way for UNC with 22 points and added seven rebounds. After an inefficient start – the first-year guard made just four of his first 13 shots – the highly-touted point guard bounced back to help key the UNC rally. He finished eight of 17 from the floor, while Brooks was the only other Tar Heel to reach double-digits with 13 points.

For the Wolverines, Brooks had a game-high 24 points on 9-14 from the field and 4-6 from deep.

When was it decided?

It seemed the Michigan run early in the second half had ended the Tar Heels' hopes, but a 23-7 stretch put some wind back in their sails. Ultimately, though, the Wolverines got the precious few buckets they needed to seal the win.

Why does it matter?

Scoring woes again reared their head for the Tar Heels, who at one point in the second half went more than six and a half minutes without a hoop. North Carolina players not named Cole Anthony made 18 of 44 field goal attempts, good for just 40.9 percent, and went six of 14 from the free throw line.

When do they play next?

North Carolina will conclude its run in the Battle 4 Atlantis tomorrow before returning home for the ACC/Big 10 Challenge against Ohio State on December 4.


@DTHSports |

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