UNC 68 URI 67 (OT)

Wow that was ugly and feel free to break out whatever cliche you want to hang on to here.

Better to be lucky than good...A win is a win...did not deserve to win but we'll take it...etc, etc, etc.

It was one of the stranger games I have seen, especially involving UNC since there were moments where both teams played some good basketball in between throwing the ball out of bounds. It was also a physical game with some less than stellar officiating that unfortunately came to a head at game's end with a URI player falling to the ground which may or may not have been caused by Will Graves who was most certainly knocked down by another URI player.

UNC had two major problems on offense besides the turnovers. The first was putrid three point shooting. The Heels shot 2-16 from three point range. One of the two was a clutch three from Will Graves who missed the other six he took from beyond the arc. The poor shooting from the perimeter eventually hurt the interior game since URI had no qualms about collapsing down and UNC interior players did a poor job of kicking back out. The other huge issue and probably more daunting was the free throw shooting. Deon Thompson was horrible from the line for most of the game but did hit his last two when it really counted. Not that UNC shot that many free throws(16 total) which was odd considering the physical nature of the game. The Heels did a little better in the paint but missed plenty of shots at point blank range. Combine those with the missed FTs and UNC really could have closed the deal without the extra period.

Still, credit to Larry Drew for making some plays when it was needed. Yes, his execution on the final two plays left something to be desired but you continue to get the feel that Drew is doing a better job facilitating the offense even if the shots do not fall. Drew took the bull by the horns and made the game tying layup. Tyler Zeller had a solid game, especially in OT scoring four points. And that is about it. Except for one of the most spectacular missed dunks I have seen since Vince Carter caught back rim off the backboard from Ed Cota in 1998. John Henson is something else. Even his missed dunks are worth talking about after the fact.

As for the final play. Yes, the no call was controversial. Will Graves' "no comment" during the postgame interview seems to indicate there may have been contact. That being said, there was definite contact from URI players knocking Graves forward. There is also the issue of possession and whether Lamonte Ulmer had possession of the ball. The fact there was so much contact prior to the trip is likely what led to the no-call. It was a chain reaction and the referees apparently decided that URI initiated the chain so they let it ride.

That being said, if URI wants to complain then complain about two missed free throws with 28 seconds left or the fact your coach opted to not foul a team that had a season long issue making free throws when it counted and in this game was 50% from the line. Not to mention the shot clock/game clock differential put the Rams in a dicey position anyway. Yes, the no-call sucked but so did a lot of things.

UNC now plays for the NIT Championship on Thursday vs Dayton which means the air will continue to be sucked from Duke's balloon for at least two more days.

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