Scott German: Tomas Woldetensae’s 10 seconds of agony in Chapel Hill

tomas woldetensae

Tomas Woldetensae. Photo by Dan Grogan.

Tomas Woldetensae suffered through what perhaps was the most agonizing 10.3 seconds of his basketball career Saturday evening in the Dean Smith Center.

The junior went from possibly having to walk back to Charlottesville to being the hero of the night for Virginia as he swished a three with less than a second remaining to give the Cavaliers a 64-62 win over North Carolina.

The basket helped, OK, did, erase a disastrous foul committed by Woldetensae on a three-point shot attempt by UNC’s Christian Keeling with 10.3 seconds remaining and the Heels trailing 61-59.

Keeling made all three free throws, putting UNC up 62-61.

Virginia, inbounding the ball from under the Carolina basket, got the ball to Kihei Clark, who drove through a couple of UNC defenders to the basket and found Woldetensae on the wing in front of the UVA bench.

Woldetensae then calmly sank his sixth, and biggest, three of the night to give Virginia the win, their sixth straight over North Carolina.

Seems to be a pattern developing for the Virginia junior college transfer. In the Cavaliers’ previous three road contests, at Wake Forest, Louisville and tonight against UNC,  Woldetensae has been lighting it up from bonus land, connecting on 20 of his 34 three-point shot attempts.

UVA, (17-7, 9-5 in ACC play) won its fifth game in its last six outings to continue a late-season surge toward a possible NCAA tourney bid.

For certain, not many Cavalier fans will find any sympathy for UNC, but the Tar Heels’ nightmare of a season continues. UNC, last in the ACC, lost its fifth conference game by fewer than five points.

In the last week alone, Carolina has lost a heartbreaker home game to Duke, was blown out by Wake Forest, and lost on another buzzer-beater tonight against Virginia.

In typical UVA style, this game was ugly and gritty often at the same time. Witness a play at the 11:59 mark of the second half: UNC’s Cole Anthony, who has already missed a sizeable portion of the season due to injury, and entered the game leading the Tar Heels in scoring with just over 19 points per game, was on the wrong end of a bang-up play with Virginia center Francisco Caffaro’s elbow.

Anthony ended up with a bloody head gash, sending him to the Carolina locker room for over four minutes of game action.  After his return, he was ineffective, scoring just two points the remainder of the game.

Overshadowed by game-winning three were consecutive threes by Woldetensae and freshman Casey Morsell that erased a one-point UNC lead, putting the Cavaliers up 53-48.

In the end, Virginia again gritted-out a win, and Woldetensae probably had a much quicker and pleasant trip back to town.

Story by Scott German


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