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UNC goes cold late in poor-shooting effort against Duke

Can’t win when you can’t shoot.

NCAA Basketball: Duke at North Carolina Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

With less than two minutes left in the game, UNC had a lead. Even though they led for under seven minutes of game time, a couple three-pointers by RJ Davis and Pete Nance had pushed them ahead in the back half of the final 20 minutes. From there, though, the Tar Heels were ice cold, turning the game into a disappointing 62-57 loss.

Carolina had every chance to squeak out a win on Senior Night before they closed the game on a 1-9 stretch in which they went over four minutes without a field goal. Duke closed the game on a 6-0 run to seal UNC’s fate.

The fact that Carolina even had a chance of winning after shooting 30% from the field for the game is a testament to the rock fight this game was. Duke only shot 38%, but it was enough, particularly when the Heels made just five of their shots from deep.

RJ Davis and Armando Bacot finished the game with 17 points each to lead the team. Caleb Love finished behind them with 11 points, but a brutal 0-6 mark from distance. Leaky Black had nine points and eight rebounds. Pete Nance, hampered by foul trouble, had just three points.

All the more frustrating was the fact that several Duke players were in a heap of foul trouble throughout the second half. Despite that, Carolina failed to capitalize on it by still missing a number of shots from near point-blank range. The team managed just seven second chance points all game.

Kyle Filipowski was a problem that the Tar Heels couldn’t solve, as he scored 22 points to lead all scorers. He was 7-8 from the free throw line, including important ones in the final minutes, and grabbed 13 rebounds.

The two teams shot an unimpressive but pretty even percentage from the field in the first half with Duke shooting 37% and UNC shooting 35%. The difference came in the second half when Duke shot 39% but UNC regressed to an even worse 27% from the field. It’s simply not a recipe for winning when that is all the offense you can muster.

The loss probably puts UNC safely out of the NCAA Tournament unless they have a Cinderella run in them to the ACC Tournament championship. That’s hard to see happening with the state of things. To even have a shot to play yourself into the field after the way this season has gone seemed suspect, but there just wasn’t enough juice in the tank.

UNC will be in action in Greensboro for the ACC Tournament in their next game.