For the second time in less than a week, the Tar Heels had the ball trailing 71-70 with less than 30 seconds left in the game. On Monday night, UNC had multiple bites at the proverbial apple including Marcus Paige with a shot at the rim but failed to convert.
Fast forward just five days and the Heels were facing a similar situation with the stakes even higher. A second straight ACC loss at home in heartbreaking fashion would have dealt serious damage to UNC's place in the ACC standings and been emotionally devastating. Seasons have gone into tailspins over moments like these.
First up here is the game winner vs Louisville
Out of the timeout, UNC appears to get some offensive flow with about ten seconds worth of passing around the perimeter. Kennedy Meeks then screens once near the left wing to free up Paige to receive the pass from Nate Britt then screens again to create the switch. That left Paige against Louisville's 6-10 Chinau Onuaku who he was able to turn the corner on going to the basket to hit the game winning layup.
If there is one fault in the execution is it did leave Louisville with eight seconds. Complicating UNC's defensive situation was the fact Paige went flying past the basket support and got tangled up with a cameraman. That left Louisville with a "power play" on the other end making it easy to find Wayne Blackshear open in the corner for three. Blackshear missed as did Chris Jones to seal the win for the Tar Heels.
Paige's shot on Saturday is an almost carbon copy of Paige's game winner versus NC State last season. The winning shot in Raleigh had Paige bringing the ball up but the once he came frontcourt the mechanics of what UNC did were largely the same. On Saturday Meeks set the screen at the top of the key, in February it was Brice Johnson. That screen allowed Paige to find a path to the left side of the basket which is his preference since he is left handed. The results for both were the same.
The ACC Digitial Network offers a side-by-side look at the two plays.