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The Daily Tar Heel

UNC men's basketball gets blown out on road against Miami, losing 85-57

UNC junior forward Armando Bacot (5) finishes at the hoop during a home game at the Dean Smith Center against Furman on Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021.

Coming off a big win on Saturday, the North Carolina men’s basketball team (12-5, 4-2 ACC) suffered an 85-57 loss at Miami (14-4, 6-1 ACC) on Tuesday.

What happened?

After the Tar Heels opened the game with a three-pointer by graduate forward Brady Manek, the Hurricanes took a quick 11-point lead fueled by several offensive turnovers by UNC.

Three consecutive free throws by sophomore RJ Davis put a stop to Miami’s 14-point run, but the Hurricanes answered with a three-pointer, to maintain their double-digit lead. About halfway through the first half, UNC tallied six turnovers while Miami had none, and Miami led 25-11. 

While the Tar Heels’ struggle to keep control of the ball on their half of the court presented a major issue, Miami’s offense was dominant, shooting 12-19 from the floor and 5-8 from behind the arc just under halfway through the first half.

Junior forward Armando Bacot — who had a career-high 29 points in the Tar Heels’ previous two games — didn’t score his first bucket until more than 12 minutes into the game. UNC had almost a three-minute drought before its next points – a turnaround jumper by sophomore wing Kerwin Walton. 

After points off a turnover by sophomore guard Caleb Love and a deep three-pointer, Miami stretched the lead to 23. Going into halftime, the Hurricanes increased this lead to 27, with a halftime score of 49-22.  

By the end of the first half, Miami had three players scoring triple digits, while UNC’s leading scorer had just six points. The Hurricanes, shooting 57 percent from behind the arc, were almost doubling the Tar Heels, who were shooting just 24 percent.

With an early three in the second half, Miami's Sam Waardenburg already reached a career-high 20 points, with almost a full half left to play. Early in the second half, Davis scored consecutive layups, followed by a basket from Bacot, but Miami answered with a second-chance jumper to keep a sound lead.

Miami increased its lead to 32 after a four-point play with 14 minutes left to play. With a little over 11 minutes left in the game, Miami was shooting 57 percent compared to UNC’s 19 percent from the three-point line.    

With eight minutes left, the Tar Heels had already put up more points than they had in the first half, but were still down 71-45.

The rest of the game was more of the same, with Miami keeping the pressure on to finish the game 85-57.

Who stood out?

While Bacot had a slow start, he recorded a eighth straight double-double, leading the team with 15 points and 12 rebounds.

The Hurricanes were paced by Isaiah Wong, Kameron McGutsy and Waardenburg, who all scored at least 20 points.

When was it decided?

Down 27 at half and shooting just 24 percent, a win had already slipped away from the Tar Heels. did not seem promising for the Tar Heels, Despite a brief second half turnaround, Miami increased its lead to 32 about midway through the second half, and UNC couldn't climb out of the hole.

Why does it matter?

After blowing out Georgia Tech on Saturday, the Tar Heels have shown they need to find their shooting consistency on the road. As UNC continues ACC play, this tough loss could serve as a wake-up call to help them find their mojo for the second half of the season, or it could put a damper on the season and prevent them from achieving any tournament aspirations.

When do they play next?

The Tar Heels will travel to Winston-Salem to face Wake Forest on Saturday at 9 p.m.

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