When all signs pointed toward the page being flipped, the Tar Heels reminded everyone who they truly are.
Heading into round two of the Tobacco Road rivalry, North Carolina had won three straight games and connected on two dozen 3-pointers over its last two outings. Saturday night was set up to be the year’s defining moment — the game where the Tar Heels earned their second Quad One win to seemingly put themselves in the driver's seat to earn an at-large bid into the NCAA tournament.
But with UNC royalty in attendance, and the senior-night red carpet rolled out, North Carolina reverted back to its season-long shooting struggles in a 62-57 loss to Duke.
For head coach Hubert Davis, the lackluster 5-23 clip from beyond the arc wasn’t the most damning part about his team's 30 percent shooting output from the field.
“I thought we had wide open looks from three that we didn’t make,” he said. “But more importantly, I thought we had layups that we missed. We missed a lot of shots around the basket.”
In the first half, Caleb Love raced ahead for what would appeared to be a runaway dunk. As the junior guard rose up, first-year forward Dariq Whitehead slashed Love’s left arm and the shot clanked off the back of the rim. At the charity stripe, Love only converted just one of the ensuing free throw attempts.
Four minutes later, graduate forward Pete Nance worked his way around an Armando Bacot post seal to find an uncontested path to the rim, but the transfer from Northwestern’s slam was rejected by the front of the rim.
Four seemingly guaranteed points turned into only one.
“Like you’ve seen in the past couple of games, sometimes you make shots and sometimes you miss shots,” Nance said. “You know, tonight we definitely didn’t make as many as we wanted to.”