Guard Tomas Woldetensae sank a game-winning 3-pointer with 0.3 seconds left to lead Virginia past North Carolina, 64-62, on Saturday night at the Smith Center.
The Tar Heels (10-15, 3-11 ACC) have now lost five games in a row, and a second at home in heartbreaking fashion after last Saturday’s overtime loss to Duke. They held a brief 62-61 lead after guard Christian Keeling was fouled on a 3-pointer and made all three free throws with 10.3 seconds left.
From the start, this game was unsurprisingly slow. Eight minutes in, the Tar Heels and Cavaliers were tied at 9-9. And although UNC racked up 10 turnovers early, poor shooting from both sides kept the score competitive.
North Carolina relied on Anthony to create against Virginia’s vaunted pack defense, and he did so early — especially on a slashing and-one layup that made it 17-15 UVa. That drive started a pretty stretch of basketball in which UNC made five of seven shots and Virginia made four in a row.
After a circus and-one layup by guard Kihei Clark, the Cavaliers led 26-20. But the Tar Heels didn’t slow down. UNC made its last six shots — none bigger than a game-tying floater by Anthony — to tie the halftime score at 28-28. The team also shot 13 of 23 (56.5 percent) in those first 20 minutes.
Anthony and Keeling, who got his first start since December, were UNC’s main contributors to start the second half, scoring the team’s first nine points. At the under-12 timeout, their efforts had UNC again tied with UVa. at 39-39.
The Cavaliers made it 45-41 after Anthony briefly left the floor with a bloodied forehead from a loose elbow. The first-year returned, though, and Garrison Brooks made two huge plays — a 3-pointer and a dunk — to quickly get UNC ahead. At the 7:23 mark, the Tar Heels led 48-47.
The ACC opponents kept trading buckets. Consecutive UVa. 3-pointers made it 53-48. Leaky Black and Brooks scored to again narrow the deficit. With four minutes left, Virginia was up 55-52. And the Cavaliers hung onto that lead, just barely at times, to stay up 57-55 with two minutes left.