UNC Basketball: Tar Heels lose overtime heartbreaker to Duke

The UNC basketball team lost a heartbreaker to Duke in overtime on Saturday night.

Tre Jones scored a game-high 28 points for the Blue Devils, and Duke beat North Carolina by a final score of 98-96 in overtime on Saturday night.

Jones had a terrific run at the end of regulation, and some clutch moments in overtime, but his offensive numbers were very pedestrian outside of that. He shot just 11-for-25 on the game, including 0-for-4 from three-point range and 6-for-9 from the free throw line. He did have six assists, five rebounds and three steals, though, and kept the Blue Devils in the game when they seemed to be on their way to a loss.

Freshman guard Cassius Stanley scored 22 points on 7-of-19 shooting before fouling out of the game. Vernon Carey, Jr. and Wendell Moore, Jr. added 18 and 17 points, respectively. Moore pulled down a team-high 10 rebounds, and scored the last-second bucket that beat the Tar Heels as time expired.

The Blue Devils hit 34-of-80 shots from the floor, and 4-of-18 from three-point range. They hit 26-of-34 free throws and committed just 12 turnovers to the Tar Heels’ 18. With the win, Duke improves to 20-3 on the season, and 10-2 in Atlantic Coast Conference play.

North Carolina was led by Cole Anthony’s 24 points, and game-high 11 rebounds. Anthony shot 7-for-17 from the floor, and hit 9-of-10 shots from the foul line. Junior forward Garrison Brooks scored 18 points on an efficient 9-for-12 shooting performance. He missed all five of his free throw attempts, though, and turned the ball over five times. Senior graduate transfers Christian Keeling and Justin Pierce added 24 points off the UNC bench, hitting 10-of-16 shots and pulling down four rebounds a piece.

The Tar Heels should have won the game, by any stretch of the imagination. They hit better than 52 percent of their shots for the game, won the rebounding battle by nine, assisted on 23 of their made buckets and led for most of the night. Despite that, however, they managed to blow the game in the closing minutes of regulation — and again in overtime — mainly because of their inability to hit free throws. They missed 17 of their 38 attempts on the night.

Alas, they add to what’s been a terribly disappointing season that’s seen them go just 10-13 through the season’s first three months. They have a 3-9 record in conference play, and virtually no shot at making the NCAA Tournament — outside of running the table in the ACC Tournament. They’re back in action on Tuesday night when they face off with the 10-12 Wake Forest Demon Deacons.

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