After scoring 91 points against the Duke Blue Devils a week ago, the North Carolina men's basketball team (12-7, 7-5 ACC) failed to reach 50 points at Virginia (15-3, 11-1 ACC) for the fourth meeting in a row in Saturday's 60-48 loss to the Cavaliers.
With a week off from games since the win over Duke, the Tar Heels had plenty of rust to shake off in John Paul Jones Arena. By the media timeout with 11:33 to go in the first half, North Carolina made two of its first 13 field goal attempts and only managed four points.
Meanwhile, the Cavaliers came out hot from beyond the arc, knocking down five of their first eight attempted 3-pointers.
The Tar Heels' rebounding struggles compounded on their shooting woes. UNC — normally one of the premier rebounding teams in the country — found itself matching UVA in rebounds, 13-13, with about 6:39 remaining in the first half.
Despite North Carolina's issues in the first half, a roughly six-minute scoring drought for Virginia kept the Tar Heels in the game, with an Anthony Harris free throw cutting UVA's lead to 25-18 with about 90 seconds to play before halftime. By the break, the Cavaliers led, 27-18, and North Carolina's leading scorers were Day'Ron Sharpe and Armando Bacot at four points apiece.
After an 0-10 start for the Tar Heels, first-year guard Kerwin Walton scored UNC's first 3-pointer of the evening 3:35 into the second half to cut Virginia's lead to 34-23. Outside of Walton's final 2-6 line on 3-pointers, the rest of the team shot 0-10 from deep.
Still, as North Carolina's offense remained stagnant throughout the second half, the Tar Heels were able to cut Virginia's lead to nine with a little over 10 minutes to play after an efficient stretch from first-year center Walker Kessler.
But UNC remained unable to get over the hump in the closing minutes and fell to Virginia, 60-48.
Who stood out?
It was a rough outing all around for North Carolina. The Tar Heels' offense didn't hit the 30-point mark until there was less than 13 minutes left to play on Saturday.
Kessler had his best outing of the season off the bench, though, scoring nine points on 3-5 shooting in 12 minutes. All of his points came in the second half.
The duo of Bacot and Sharpe led the way for UNC on the boards, combining for 17 rebounds against one of the worst rebounding teams in the country.
When was it decided?
North Carolina's offensive struggles plagued the Tar Heels from the opening tip, digging them into a hole too deep to climb out of for the entire evening. UNC trailed the Cavaliers for over 90 percent of the game.
Why does it matter?
With Saturday's defeat, the Tar Heels have now lost seven straight contests against the Cavaliers and have not won in John Paul Jones Arena since 2012.
Virginia head coach Tony Bennett has consistently handled Roy Williams and UNC over the last five years, and this iteration of that coaching matchup showed no signs of bucking that trend.
When do they play next?
With the ACC announcing the postponement of UNC's upcoming matchup against Virginia Tech shortly before the Tar Heels faced the Cavaliers, North Carolina's next game is slated for Saturday, Feb. 20, at home against Louisville.
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