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UNC 80, Florida State 81: Poor first half defense dooms Heels in Tallahassee

The Heart Attack Heels fell just short.

Wake Forest v North Carolina Photo by Peyton Williams/UNC/Getty Images

For the second game in a row, the Heels needed to claw back to have a chance late in the game. Unlike in their game against Wake Forest, Carolina couldn’t get the big shot to fall. The chance was there, and the ball was in the trusted hands of Joel Berry II, but he couldn’t get the ball to go in to avoid Carolina’s third loss of the season.

The Tar Heels were fortunate to have a chance to win the game after Florida State struggled at the free throw line late. Truthfully, it was only because of a terribly defended first half that the Heels were even in that position. They out-scored the Seminoles by 10 points in the second half with Berry getting off to a hot start, but it wasn’t enough to overcome letting FSU get most of anything they wanted all first half on their way to 51 points.

Berry had an incredible night with 28 points. His second-half heroics were a huge reason why the Heels were even in contention down the stretch. Kenny Williams chipped in 18 points. It’s weird to say that Luke Maye struggled mightily with 14 points, but it’s a true statement nonetheless. Carolina got pretty much no offensive production out of anyone else, including Garrison Brooks putting up a goose egg.

The Heels were rolling before Theo Pinson picked up his fourth foul on a questionable call. He was forced to go to the bench and the team just couldn’t execute as effectively without him. Pinson returned and nearly saved the game with a huge interception around mid-court to lead to a late Berry three-pointer. Unfortunately, that three brought UNC as close as they’d ultimately get at one point shy of tying it with 35 seconds remaining.

A lot of the same problems that were evident in the Wake Forest game were present again tonight. Yes, playing a tough team on the road in a tough environment is not necessarily a recipe for getting things ironed out. Still, those exposed weaknesses are going to continually get exploited if the Heels can’t fix the glaring issues. They’ll try to do just that in another tough road game against Virginia this weekend.

Also I’m just going to leave this here without comment.