You’d think it wouldn’t hurt anymore.
It feels like I’ve written the same recap about 45 times this season, and I’m running out of new ways to say the same things over and over. Carolina looked like they might finally pick up a win, but then they didn’t. Two overtimes later — here we are.
The team held Virginia Tech to just 36% shooting from the field, but they made 14 three pointers. Even on a night where the Tar Heels were better than expected from beyond the arc with seven made threes, it just wasn’t enough. The big undoing was free throws in the second half. UNC made just 14 of their 20 shots from the charity stripe for the game, missing six of 12 in the second half. Make just one more and we aren’t here. Again.
Garrison Brooks did his best to avoid a loss. He scored 28 points, dished out six assists, and pulled down 13 boards. Justin Pierce and Leaky Black joined him in double figures for UNC with 15 and 12 points, respectively. Once again, Carolina’s bench just went two-men deep. In a double-overtime game, that’s a recipe for disaster.
If you’ve watched Carolina basketball at all this season, you kind of knew this was coming. Despite the fact that UNC had what should have been a somewhat comfortable lead, it was never comfortable. The Hokies’ ability to shoot the ball from deep was always a concern. Once the Tar Heels’ offense sputtered down the stretch and Virginia Tech was able to make their shots, it felt inevitable. Those stretches of ineffectiveness have been UNC’s undoing in so many games this season. Unfortunately, there just seems to be no answer for getting them to stop.
It has felt like all of the bad has just compounded on itself for Carolina as of late. Once a truck starts speeding downhill with the brakes cut, it’s very difficult to stop it. UNC is currently that truck without brakes. Cole Anthony’s return might be enough to get the momentum toward the bad place to stop, but even then it feels like he can’t salvage everything that has been left in the wake.
The Heels’ next game is a noon tipoff against Miami in the Smith Center.