Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Texas loss was the kind of game Carolina used to win

Remember all those late-game wins North Carolina used to pull off? That 78-76 loss to No. 22 Texas was one the Tar Heels should have won. While Texas was the aggressor at the beginning, the Heels settled down and looked like the better team until the last five minutes.

If nothing else, this game shows how valuable Tyler Zeller is to UNC. He probably stayed out too long after getting his fourth foul with just over six minutes to go. While he was out, over three and a half minutes, the Heels went from six up to one down.

As soon as he came back in, Zeller hit two key shots to put the Heels back up 73-70.

While Zeller's absence was a key, the tide may have turned when Carolina botched a three-on-one fastbreak opportunity, up by five with five minutes left. Larry Drew II tried a bounce pass to John Henson but Henson and Dexter Strickland were too jammed up together and the ball went off Strickland's foot and out of bounds.

Carolina led by seven at 67-60 with less than six minutes to play but were outscored 18-9 down the stretch.

"We're a very ticked off team right now because we had our chances," UNC coach Roy Williams said.

For more on the game itself, please click here.

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