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The Daily Tar Heel

Recap: Without Cole Anthony, UNC's comeback against Wofford falls short in 68-64 loss


UNC and Wofford's men's basketball teams squared off during a game on Sunday, Dec. 15th, 2019 at Carmichael Arena.This is the first regular-season game the Tar Heels have played in Carmichael since 1986. UNC fell to Wofford 64-68, marking UNC's third consecutive loss.

The No. 17 North Carolina men's basketball team (6-4, 1-1 ACC) fell to Wofford (7-4), 68-64, in a rare home game in Carmichael Arena on Sunday. 

The Tar Heels missed the talents of first-year guard Cole Anthony, who is out indefinitely with a right knee injury that was announced hours before tipoff.

What happened?

Due to a scheduling conflict at the Smith Center, Sunday saw the Tar Heels play their first regular-season game in Carmichael since Jan. 4, 1986, a 90-79 win over N.C. State. In 2010, North Carolina hosted William & Mary in Carmichael in the first round of the NIT.

And in case that wasn't enough intrigue for one game, UNC announced an hour and a half before tipoff that Anthony and sophomore guard Leaky Black, who is game-to-game with a sprained right foot, would sit against the Terriers.

The undermanned Tar Heels began the day by looking inside, while Wofford kept up with a handful of three-pointers early. The Terriers sank a trio of triples in the first six minutes to grab an 11-9 lead, but a Garrison Brooks dunk off of an assist from K.J. Smith got the smaller-than-usual Chapel Hill crowd involved.

At the 12:05 mark, another Brooks slam gave the Tar Heels a 17-16 lead. Still, the road underdogs were keeping pace, having already made four triples on nine attempts.

Then it became North Carolina's turn to launch from deep. After an Andrew Platek three-pointer, Smith got on the board with a triple from the right wing, then came back down and found Christian Keeling in the corner for a long two. 

UNC's seven-point lead to that point was its largest of the game; Wofford answered with a 9-2 run to knot the game at 28.

At halftime, North Carolina held a narrow 36-32 lead, with Brooks' nine points leading the way; first-year Armando Bacot had eight points, while Smith added seven. 

The start of the second half saw the two teams playing to a stalemate, and with 14:39 to go the game was tied 42-42, thanks mostly to Wofford's continued proficiency from deep and 10 points off turnovers.

The Terriers then proceeded to rip off 13 unanswered points, thanks to three consecutive three-pointers, to go up 55-42 with 10:18 to play.

North Carolina countered with a 7-0 spurt, with five points from senior guard Brandon Robinson, to cut the deficit to six. Later, with just over four minutes to play, a Brooks dunk made it a five-point game.

But a Wofford layup put the lead back to seven, then the teams traded three-pointers before a Robinson free throw put the score at 65-59 with a minute and a half to play.

After a stop on defense, UNC's Anthony Harris followed his own miss to slice it to four with 51.5 seconds left. But Wofford found a wide-open three-point attempt after breaking North Carolina's trap defense and put the nail in the coffin, handing the Tar Heels their third consecutive loss.

Who stood out?

Brooks had a team-high 17 points for North Carolina, while Robinson posted 16 points on 4-12 shooting.

In Anthony's absence, Smith started at point guard and posted seven points and four assists on the day.

When was it decided?

North Carolina responded to the second-half Wofford run with one of its own, and cut the Terrier lead to as little as four; still, the team was unable to complete the comeback.

Why does it matter? 

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The loss only heightens concerns about UNC's lack of offense outside of Anthony. Against the Terriers, North Carolina shot just 36.5 percent from the field and 31.6 percent from deep.

When do they play next?

The Tar Heels will jet to Spokane, Wash. for a road battle with Gonzaga on Wednesday at 9 p.m.


@DTHSports |