The Daily Tar Heel

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Sunday June 4th

UNC men's basketball fails to earn resume-building win in 80-72 loss at Miami

Junior guard, RJ Davis(4) dribbling the ball for men's basektball against Miami at the Dean E. Smith Center on Monday, Feb. 14, 2023
Buy Photos Junior guard, RJ Davis(4) dribbling the ball for men's basektball against Miami at the Dean E. Smith Center on Monday, Feb. 14, 2023

The North Carolina men’s basketball (16-10, 9-7 ACC) team fell to No. 15 Miami (21-5, 12-4 ACC), 80-72, at the Dean E. Smith Center on Monday night, further damaging its chances at getting an NCAA Tournament bid.

What happened?

The two teams traded blows with to begin the game, resulting in 9-9 tie at the first media timeout. After the timeout, the Tar Heels were unable to find the bottom of the basket, missing five straight shots, allowing Miami to accumulate a 16-10 lead. 

Finally, junior forward Puff Johnson was able to get a bucket, and North Carolina started to chip away at Miami’s lead. With 6:45 left in the half, the Tar Heels reclaimed the lead, 22-21, using a combined eight points from junior guards Caleb Love and RJ Davis, as well as limiting Miami to just five points in a near six minute span. North Carolina kept its foot on the gas to close out the first half by missing just two field goals in the final seven minutes to go into the half trailing 35-34.

The second half started with both teams going on short little scoring bursts with North Carolina being able to keep within a point of the Hurricanes with 17:15 left in the game. After this spurt, though, Miami ran away with the lead, going on 15-2 run over the next six minutes to take a 54-40 lead. UNC was called for six fouls in this stint, including four on senior forward Armando Bacot. 

The Tar Heels were able to go on a run of their own over the next two minutes, managing to slim the lead down to nine, with graduate forward Leaky Black having a hand in all seven points. But while North Carolina was able to keep close with Miami, the Hurricanes were able to answer back with a basket at almost every opportunity. It seemed as if UNC might have had a chance to get back in the game by getting within four points late, but that’s the closest the Tar Heels would get as Miami closed the game at the free throw line.

Who stood out? 

As a whole, the team's 3-point shooting fell back to Earth on Monday. After making 15 three-pointers in the win against Clemson on Sunday, the Tar Heels were only able to make five against the Hurricanes, converting on just 16.1 percent of their attempts from beyond the arc.

Jordan Miller and Nijel Pack stood out for Miami with the pair scoring 24 and 23 points, respectively. The North Carolina defense was unable to slow them down as they made a combined 16 out of their 25 shots.

When was it decided?

Although UNC was able to get within four with 36 seconds remaining, Miami would ice the game from the free throw line, making seven free throws in the final half minute of the game.

Why does it matter?

North Carolina desperately needed a win against a quality team to both bolster its tournament resume and to avoid falling out of contention for the NCAA Tournament. Monday's loss gives UNC its first regular season with 10 losses or more since the 2019-20 season. 

From here, the Tar Heels will need to win convincingly in order to potentially secure a tournament bid.

When do they play next?

North Carolina will get another shot at adding a second top-25 win to its resume and potentially sweep N.C. State on Sunday when the team travels to Raleigh on Sunday. Tipoff is at 1 p.m.


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