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Off the cuff: What a low after such a high against Hofstra. Just when you think the bad taste of last year is out of your mouth, they pull something like that against Minnesota.

"Last year doesn't have anything to do with this year," UNC coach Roy Williams scoffed. "We just stunk."

Yes, Minnesota is better than Hofstra but it's more about Carolina than it is the opponent. In other words, you have to be consistent. You can't shoot the eyes out of it one night and the very next night can't buy a basket, even with open looks.

"I've tried to erase last year from my mind," Williams said.

It won't be easy with performances like this.

By the way, I dislike the rule that's been in place for a couple of seasons now that if there is a foul when it's time for an official timeout, the player has to shoot the free throw after the timeout. That ices the shooter and does the job that an opponent's timeout used to do. It's all about TV commercials - the control that TV has really needs to change at some point. Had Zeller completed the three-point play with a free throw after the timeout, the Heels would have trailed only 62-60 with nearly three minutes to play. Getting the score down to a single bucket could have been a psychological advantage for the Heels, who knows?

Minnesota 72, Tar Heels 67
Barnes pulls an O-fer as Heels lose

North Carolina's freshman sensation Harrison Barnes hasn't been very sensational lately as he hasn't scored a field goal in three halves, including an 0 for 13 effort in a 72-67 loss to Minnesota in the Puerto Rico tournament. (11/19)

The game was a polar opposite from last night's game which saw the Tar Heels light it up from outside (12 of 17 from the three-point line) and saw six players in double figures. Against Minnesota, the Heels were just four of 18 from behind the arc and only two players scored in double figures (and it would have been one except for a last second bucket by Reggie Bullock that gave him 11 on the night). Zeller, who battled foul trouble, led the scoring with 16 points.

Even though Carolina got in foul trouble, especially with its big men, UNC coach Roy Williams said the Gophers were the aggressors and more into the game mentally and physically. It was a physical game, especially at the beginning. "We're so frickin' young," Williams said. "We lost our composure from the beginning of the game. They were the aggressive team from the start."

North Carolina shot just 29 percent in the first half and trailed 27-24 at the break. Even though the Heels tied the score at 41 on a Kendall Marshall jumper in the lane with 11 minutes to play, Minnesota got the lead up to nine with eight minutes to play, mostly on the outside shooting of Blake Hoffarber who led all scorers with 20 points.

Larry Drew II drove the lane for a layup with five minutes to play to draw the Heels within three at 58-55. The Gophers got the margin back up to seven quickly before Carolina made its last run.

Transfer Justin Knox hit a follow shot and Zeller banked one in on the run and was fouled. Zeller missed the free throw however after an official timeout and the score stood at 62-59 with 2:53 to go. The Gophers scored the next seven points to get its biggest lead at 10 with a minute to play and wrapped it up.

The Tar Heels shot just 37 percent from the floor and only 60 percent from the free throw line. Carolina, 2-1, plays in the consolation game in Puerto Rico at 5:30 p.m. Sunday.


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