ACC Championship: UNC falls short against Virginia

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 10: Andrew Platek
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 10: Andrew Platek /

UNC couldn’t take down the No. 1 team in the nation, falling short to Virginia in the ACC Championship Game

North Carolina’s wish of winning four-straight games in Brooklyn and claiming another Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament Championship was dashed at the hands of Virginia on Saturday night.

The Cavaliers controlled the tempo for the entire game and trailed for only 54 seconds early on. A

After UNC grabbed a quick 5-2 lead out of the gate, the Cavaliers went on a 10-0 run to take a 12-5 lead and never look back. The Hoos played excellent defense, shot the ball well and made 20-of-22 free throw attempts enroute to the win.

Virginia showed everyone once again why they are considered the best team in the nation, putting the clamps down on defense and allowing just 63 points.

Despite falling behind early, UNC battled back numerous times in the first half. The trio of Joel Berry, Cam Johnson and Theo Pinson combined for just 7 points in the first half.

Yet, UNC kept it close and trailed just 34-30 at the break thanks to a big first half from both Luke Maye and Kenny Williams.

In the second half, Virginia tried to pull away again but UNC kept it within striking distance. A quick 7-0 run beginning at the 15-minute mark got the Tar Heels to within two points at 44-46. They even had a chance to take the lead by forcing a turnover.

But UNC would then turn it over on the next possession which led to a bucket by Kyle Guy to extend the lead to four points.

It would be the closest UNC would get as Virginia would take control and extend the lead to nine points with just under three minutes to go.

The Tar Heels had another long scoring drought of seven-plus minutes despite getting a few stops in a row on the defensive end. They just couldn’t execute offensively and it cost them.

Maye led the Tar Heels with 20 points and had seven rebounds on the game. He made 4-of-7 from the three-point line and was the big reason why UNC was in it in the first half.

Berry finished the game with 17 and Kenny Williams had 12 points. UNC had just three players in double-digits, all three starters. The bench combined for just six total points with Garrison Brooks and Brandon Robinson scoring three each.

Kyle Guy’s 16 points led Virginia and the Cavaliers bench scored 18, including 10 from De’Andre Hunter.

Guy was named the Most Outstanding Player of the ACC Tournament.

Next for the Tar Heels is the NCAA Tournament as they look to repeat as champions and reach the Final Four for the third-straight year.

The official 68-team field will be released Sunday on CBS as the Tar Heels will learn where they are going for the first two rounds of the tournament.

Next: Trio of Tar Heels named to All-ACC Tournament team

We will have complete coverage of the NCAA Tournament including instant reaction to UNC’s seeding as it comes out.