UNC Basketball: Tar Heels get bit by Wolfpack in overtime loss

CHAPEL HILL, NC - JANUARY 27: Kenny Williams
CHAPEL HILL, NC - JANUARY 27: Kenny Williams /

The Tar Heels and the Wolfpack faced off in an important conference game in Chapel Hill

Last season, NC State walked into the Dean Dome 12-3 overall and 1-1 in the ACC. They had a lot of expectations led by freshman phenom Dennis Smith Jr.

The Wolfpack left that game with a 107-56 loss and never recovered as they failed to make any tournaments and fired their coach midseason.

NC State entered this game 14-7 with a new coach and some impressive wins. They made sure they wouldn’t leave the Dean Dome with a similar embarrassment, this time forcing overtime and getting the big road win 95-91, ending a 15-game conference home streak for UNC.

The Game

The first half opened with a hustle play by Kenny Williams on the tip-off that led to a monster dunk by Theo Pinson. That started an opening 10-4 run for the Tar Heels in what appeared to be an early blow out.

However, NC State wasn’t open to that idea. The Wolfpack went on a 15-3 run of their own and led by  five points with less than two minutes to go behind the play of Torin Dorn, Omer Yurtseven, and Allerik Freeman, who combined for 34 first half points.

Despite getting outscored by 15 from behind the arc – UNC went 1-for-11 from downtown – the Tar Heels stayed close and eventually took a lead by getting help from players not named Joel Berry II and Luke Maye.

Freshman Andrew Platek and Garrison Brooks combined for 12 points to keep North Carolina in the half when it looked like NC State could pull away. Platek even hit the only Tar Heel three-pointer.

Then, Cam Johnson finished the job.


First, Johnson made a juke move at the top of the key and then blew past the Wolfpack defense for an easy slam dunk. Then at the end of the half, Johnson made a diving tip off of a missed Berry three that bounced in at the buzzer to give the Tar Heels a three-point lead at the half.

NC State quickly overcame that deficit in the second half thanks to the hot shooting of Freeman. Freeman entered the game shooting 5-of-16 from behind the arc in his past four games. He hit all seven of his shots from downtown.

Luckily for UNC, Theo Pinson came to play. The senior had 22 points including scoring 10 straight in the second half. The only thing that could stop Pinson in the second half was fouls, as he picked up his fourth with seven minutes left.

Maye also had a double-double for the Tar Heels, his 12th of the season, with 31 points and 12 rebounds, to help the Tar Heels force overtime despite getting outscored by 36 from behind the arc.

However, that wasn’t enough as the Tar Heels fell to the Wolfpack, thanks to some big plays from Yurtseven, who finished with 16 points and 13 rebounds for a double-double of his own.

The Tar Heels also got a bad game from Berry who finished with just six points on 3-for-12 shooting.

Player of the Game

Theo Pinson. If not for Pinson the Tar Heels probably lose in regulation. Pinson finished with a career-high 22 points and 15 rebounds for his second double-double in three games.

Notable Stat

55. That’s the percentage that the Tar Heels shot from the free throw line. UNC missed nine free throws, including four misses from Luke Maye, who continues to struggle from the line in conference play.

Whats Next?

Up next for the Tar Heels is a road game at Clemson. The Tigers will be looking for revenge after their recent loss in Chapel Hill.

Meanwhile, the Tar Heels will be looking for their second conference road win this season, while trying to avoid their first three game conference losing streak since opening the season 0-3 to start the 2014 conference season.