UNC Basketball misses ample opportunities in four-overtime loss

PORTLAND, OR - NOVEMBER 24: Puff Johnson #14 of the North Carolina Tar Heels is seen during the game against the Portland Pilots at Moda Center on November 24, 2022 in Portland, Oregon. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
PORTLAND, OR - NOVEMBER 24: Puff Johnson #14 of the North Carolina Tar Heels is seen during the game against the Portland Pilots at Moda Center on November 24, 2022 in Portland, Oregon. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) /

The trip to Portland, Oregon was not a fun one for the UNC basketball program, as they end the weekend with two consecutive losses.


Not sure there’s a better word to describe the UNC basketball program’s most recent loss to No.18 ranked Alabama.

It took four, yes, FOUR overtimes to settle this one, with the Tar Heels coming up short.

523. Final/OT. 101. 441. 103

There’s a lot to digest with this game, as it ends up serving as another disappointing loss for Hubert Davis’ team.

North Carolina dealt with foul trouble early, as Davis mixed and matched with multiple role players. It got to the point where Will Shaver made his debut and scored two points on free throws late in the first half.

The foul trouble continued, as Pete Nance picked up his fourth personal early in the second half. Both teams were hampered by foul trouble, but surprisingly, no one fouled out of this game.

As 40 minutes wasn’t enough to settle this one, overtime was sort of like deja vu all over again. The Tar Heels had plenty of chances to win the game, but selfish basketball took over, especially in the final minutes.

Instead of moving the basketball, we saw Caleb Love isolated near half-court, as the junior guard seemed to force shots that led to additional overtime periods. Even though he scored a career-high 34 points, it took him 36 to do so.

To put it into perspective, the Tar Heels backcourt of Love and RJ Davis took 56 shots total, only making 21 of them. The rest of the team took 35 shots (21 less) and made 17 of those attempts.

Let’s jump to the end of the fourth overtime period. With just under 10 seconds to play, Love attempted a floater that was originally called a goaltend. The referees, who were questionable on both sides all game, went to the monitor and overruled it, stating that an “inadvertent whistle was blown.”

Meanwhile, those watching at home saw the referee signal for the goaltending.

With no one recovering the blocked shot, the referees decided to award the ball to the team with the possession arrow, which, of course, was Alabama.

As Rasheed Wallace famously said, “the ball doesn’t lie,” as Seth Trimble came in and made a big play to force the Crimson Tide to knock the inbounds pass out of bounds.

Unfortunately, the Tar Heels would lose yet another opportunity, as Pete Nance threw the inbounds pass to an area with no North Carolina players in sight, setting up an opportunity for the Crimson Tide to extend their one-point lead.

Alabama made one of two free throws, and RJ Davis proceeded to miss a half-court buzzer-beater to end it.

Here are some notes regarding this four-overtime game:

If there’s one bright spot for the UNC basketball program, it’s 100000% Leaky Black.

Brandon Miller came into this one leading all freshmen in scoring with 20.9 points per game. Black drew the assignment defensively and delivered, forcing the freshman to shoot just 4-14 from the field. To add to his strong defensive night, the fifth-year senior also scored 10 points and recorded eight rebounds.

Armando Bacot put up yet another double-double performance, but he was sidelined for the majority of overtime. Not sure whether he was injured or the Tar Heels were concerned about his four fouls, but it is something to monitor.

After his 28-point performance just two games ago, Pete Nance has been… not very good.

It got to the point where Puff Johnson, who is still working back from injury, played a career-high in minutes (and was really good too!)

We’re only seven games in, but is it time to explore some lineup changes?

Moving forward, this group can’t settle on three-pointers. The guards are especially good at attacking the rim, as this needs to be the focal point of the offense.

It’s very frustrating to say the least, as the Tar Heels return home for a few days before heading to Indiana for the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

These types of games will help the UNC basketball program down the road, but man is this one tough to swallow at this point.

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