#5 UNC upsets #1 UVA, 71-67, in ACC Tournament

storylogo2Top seed UVA narrowed a 13-point second-half UNC to one on two different occasions in the final three minutes, but the fifth seed Heels held on for a 71-67 win on Friday in the ACC Tournament semifinals.

North Carolina (24-10, 14-7 ACC) jumped out to an early 12-3 lead and led by as many as 11 before Virginia cut the margin to 30-23 at the break.

The Heels continued their dominance, going up 40-27 on a pair of free throws by Kennedy Meeks with 15:49 to go, and it was still 13 at the 8:27 mark when Malcolm Brogdon took the reins for the listless ‘Hoos.

Brogdon scored 16 points in the final 8:16 for UVA (29-3, 17-3 ACC), hitting seven straight shots at one stretch, the last of which, a jumper with 1:20 to go, cut the UNC lead to one, at 63-62.

Carolina responded with a jumper by Marcus Paige with 42 seconds left that pushed the lead back to three. UVA called timeout, and coach Tony Bennett drew up a play for Justin Anderson, in his second game back from a five-week absence due to injury and an emergency appendectomy last week.

Anderson got a clean look, but was long on the attempt with 33 seconds left.

Meeks missed the front end of a one-and-one to give UVA another chance, and after another Bennett timeout, Brogdon missed a contested three from the top of the key with 16 seconds left.

UNC closed the game out going 6-of-6 from the line in the final seconds.

A London Perrantes three with six seconds left did make it interesting in the last moments, cutting the Heels lead to 69-67, but Paige made two free throws with four ticks left to clinch it.

Carolina dominated the game statistically, shooting 54.,8 percent (23-of-42) from the field and 7-of-14 (50 percent) from three-point range.

Justin Jackson, a 26.0 percent three-point shooter on the season, was a cool 4-for-5 from long-range and 8-of-10 from the field overall, in posting a team-high 22 for the Tar Heels.

Brogdon had 25 to lead Virginia, shooting 9-of-18 from the field and 3-of-6 from three. Perrantes and Anthony Gill each had 12 for UVA, which has now lost two of its last three.

Anderson had his second consecutive scoreless game. He had come into the ACC Tournament as the team’s second leading scorer at 13.4 points per game. Anderson played 14 minutes and was 0-for-4 from the field and missed the front end of a 1-and-1 in the second half.

Virginia now awaits its NCAA Tournament destination on Selection Sunday.


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