GREENSBORO, N.C. — Remember the Notre Dame game?
Not the one just a month ago, when North Carolina lost on a 3-pointer from Nate Laszewski as part of a seven-game losing streak (though that one will be hard to erase). Think back to UNC’s season opener.
The Tar Heels earned a handy 76-65 win over the Irish and were led by Cole Anthony, the much-hyped first-year thought to be the best point guard prospect since Kyrie Irving.
It would have been difficult, directly after that night, to predict what would come next.
To predict that Anthony’s 34 points that game would end up being a season-high; that the Tar Heels would register a 14-19 campaign, by far the worst under head coach Roy Williams (cross that one off your bingo card); that North Carolina’s season would reach its bitter conclusion before mid-March, ending with a dispiriting 81-53 loss to Syracuse Wednesday night in the second round of the ACC Tournament.
“We know we played bad,” senior guard Brandon Robinson said. “We know we didn’t have the season we wanted to have.”
For the third straight game, Anthony struggled mightily, recording more turnovers (six) than points (five) and missing five of six 3-point attempts against the Orange’s vaunted zone. Since the opening tip of UNC’s regular season finale against Duke, Anthony’s shot nine of 34 from the field and two of 11 from deep.
After the game, he was not made available for comment.
“Cole has been one of my best friends since the eighth grade,” fellow first-year Armando Bacot said in his stead. “It was kind of sad knowing this is potentially the last time we'll ever play with each other, not having an idea of what he's doing next year.”