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The Daily Tar Heel

Recap: UNC falls to Syracuse in ACC Tournament, 81-53, to end season

UNC senior guard Brandon Robinson (4) passes the ball in the second round of the 2020 New York Life ACC Tournament held in the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, N.C., on Wednesday, March 11, 2020. UNC lost 81-53 to Syracuse.

GREENSBORO — In the last game of the ACC Tournament played in front of fans, the North Carolina men's basketball team (14-19, 6-14 ACC) fell to Syracuse (18-14, 10-10 ACC) on Wednesday night, spelling the end for the 2019-20 Tar Heels and putting a finishing touch on the worst season of the Roy Williams era.

UNC shot just 33.3 percent in the second-round matchup and allowed the Orange's Elijah Hughes to post 27 points, while Cole Anthony recorded five points on 2-10 shooting to go along with six turnovers. 

The Tar Heels fell into a quick 7-0 hole in the first two minutes before a Garrison Brooks tip-in got UNC on the board, and were thus forced to play catch-up for the rest of the first half.

It didn't help matters that both Brandon Robinson and Leaky Black picked up two fouls before the first media timeout, forcing Christian Keeling and Andrew Platek to play extended time early. A little over five minutes in, the Orange held a 17-6 advantage.

By the eight-minute mark, that lead sat at 10, with UNC shooting just 5-20 from the floor and Syracuse sinking three of its first seven 3-point attempts.  

A pair of Black free throws would slice the deficit to deficit to four, but the Orange went on a 19-2 run to end the half and led 43-22 at the break.

To that point, Syracuse's Hughes had lit up UNC for 18 points on 6-12 shooting, while the Tar Heels shot just 25.8 percent as a team and missed all seven of their 3-point attempts.

The second half proved entirely uneventful, as North Carolina never cut the deficit to less than 16 despite shooting an improved 41.4 percent from the floor in the final 20 minutes. After a February win over the Orange in which the Tar Heels sank 11 3-pointers on 26 attempts, the team managed just two triples on 16 attempts Wednesday night.

Bright spots for UNC were few and far between. Brooks finished the night with 18 points on 7-14 shooting, while Black shot 5-10 en route to a 14-point performance. No other player reached double digits, however.

The Tar Heels' 19 losses are the second most in UNC history, behind an 8-20 campaign in 2001-02, and 14 ACC defeats is the most in program history. North Carolina will finish the season with a losing record for just the fourth time since the inception of the ACC in 1953.


@DTHSports |

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