UNC Basketball: Tar Heels falter late vs. Virginia as win streak is snapped

The North Carolina Tar Heels’ seven-game win streak in the Atlantic Coast Conference is over and it came at the hands of Virginia on Monday night.

UNC dropped their first conference game in almost exactly a month in Monday night, faltering late against the Cavaliers and losing 69-61. The Tar Heels fell behind early in the first half as Virginia came out hot and grabbed a 18-11 lead with 12:44 left in the half.

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Virginia would hold that lead and take it into overtime as the Tar Heels trailed 36-29 at the break.

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It was a struggle on both ends of the court for UNC in that first half as they essentially got nothing in the paint and relied on three-point shooting. Their first bucket in the paint came at the 6:41 mark when Garrison Brooks was able to lay it in.

On defense, the Tar Heels didn’t switch in time and were often confused which led to some easy and open buckets for Virginia.

But in the second half, UNC was able to gain control and for a stretch of time, it appeared as if they would extend their win streak.

Trailing 43-39 with 15:41 left in the game, UNC would go on a 14-3 run to grab a 53-46 lead at the 8:59 mark. Even after Kyle Guy’s jumper cut the lead to five, UNC was seemingly in control.

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The Cavaliers were able to stay in striking distance and keep the deficit in single digits as they went on a 7-0 run to tie the game at 55 each. That run was highlighted by a three-pointer from Ty Jerome where UNC only had four men on the defensive end of the court as Cam Johnson laid on the ground after stepping on DeAndre Hunter’s foot.

Johnson would suffer an ankle injury and be forced to miss key minutes down the stretch. It was the second UNC player to leave the game due to an ankle injury as freshman Nassir Little exited early in the first half and never returned.

With the score tied at 59, freshman Coby White drained a three-pointer with the shot clock running down to take the lead again. But an officials review showed that White didn’t get the shot off in time, giving the ball back to Virginia where they would get a layup on the ensuing possession and never look back.

UNC was sloppy on their final few possessions as Guy was able to drain two big three-pointers down the stretch to seal it.

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White led UNC with 17 points but was just 6-of-19 from the field. Kenny Williams and Luke Maye combined to score 13 points as both struggled on both ends of the court.

Stat of the Game

UNC shot 20 more field goals than Virginia did in the game but was only 35 percent from the field while the Cavaliers were 53.3. Virginia loves to slow it down and play it at their pace and when they are effective shooting the basketball, they are tough to beat.

Player of the Game

Garrison Brooks came on strong in the second half after what was a poor opening frame for the sophomore center.

He finished the game with 12 points and 8 rebounds but had some big plays down the stretch for the Tar Heels.

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