WINSTON-SALEM — The North Carolina men’s basketball team (10-14, 3-10 ACC) fell to Wake Forest (11-13, 4-10 ACC), 74-57, moving its 2020 record to 2-9.
Messy, messy, messy.
That’s the only way to describe the opening minutes of UNC’s play on Tuesday night. There were bright spots, a steal sophomore guard Leaky Black that led to a score. Or when graduate transfer guard Christian Keeling made his first shots to open the game.
But, most of the time, it was nothing but messy play from UNC.
Halfway through the first half, Black had already tallied two fouls, while junior forward Garrison Brooks made both of his free throws, but found himself on the sidelines after a rocky start with goggles on to protect his eyes. The big man eventually came back in, only to get hit in the face before the trainer took him back to the locker room.
Wake Forest, on the other hand, dominated. While UNC shot 31.4 percent from the floor and didn't make a 3-pointer, the Demon Deacons went into halftime shooting 55.6 percent from the field and 45.5 percent from deep and holding an 18-point lead.
The Demon Deacons continued to pull ahead in the second half, extending their lead to more than 20. In the final moments of the game, North Carolina responded, cutting Wake Forest’s lead down to 10. But the deficit never got smaller than that.
Who stood out?
With Brooks battling a scratched cornea and first-year guard Cole Anthony struggling to make a basket, ultimately going 5-19 on the floor and 0-6 at the 3-point line, some of UNC’s other players started to make an impact.
Keeling was UNC’s most consistent player of the night. He led the team with 15 points, going 7-14 from the floor.
Walker Miller, meanwhile, totaled 14 minutes, doubling the junior forward’s season high, and added two points with four rebounds.
When was it decided?
The game was all but decided before halftime, even with UNC attempting to narrow the Demon Deacons’ dominant lead. With Wake Forest pulling away with a 18-point lead to start the second half, it continued to capitalize and pull ahead as far as a 25-point lead.
Why does it matter?
Coming off of an overtime loss to Duke three days prior, the Tar Heels were looking to break their three-game losing streak. Since the beginning of 2020, they’ve only won twice and lost a total of eight game, sitting near the bottom of the ACC standings.
With this loss, UNC is tied with Miami for last place in the ACC. The Hurricanes play Boston College on Feb. 12.
Where do they play next?
The Tar Heels will face Virginia on Saturday back home in the Dean E. Smith Center.
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