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Off the cuff: Not a lot to be said about Carolina's loss to Belmont. When a UNC team has an eight-point lead with two minutes to go at home against a non-conference team (or any team), the Tar Heels should win.

The Heels obviously didn't get in the faces of three-point shooters very well and they didn't hit their free throws, missing 26 of 48.

As long as the best Belmont players didn't foul out - which they didn't although eight players had three or more fouls - it made sense to foul the Tar Heels.

Tokoto hit just four of 16 while McAdoo was just 11 of 19.

With a young team, two key players still out and this sort of foul shooting, it could be a long stretch here for the Tar Heels.

Belmont 83, Tar Heels 80
Heels can't overcome 3s, missed FTs

For a while it looked as if North Carolina would escape a three-point barrage and poor free throw shooting but Belmont's J.J. Mann drilled three triples in the last minute as the Heels went down 83-80 at home. (11/17)

Belmont extended a 41-34 halftime lead to 11 at 55-44 five minutes into the second half. But over the next eight minutes the Tar Heels seemed to right the ship with a 21-5 run to take a 65-60 lead with 6:54 left.

Brice Johnson, who scored 14 points on a six of seven performance, scored six off the bench during the stretch. Following a Johnson dunk with 3:11 left, the Heels seemed in command at 75-67.

The Heels still led by eight at 78-70 with two and a half minutes left.

That's when Mann took over. First he hit two free throws in a one-and-one situation and then, following a Tar Heels turnover after burning clock, Mann took advantage of a screen to drain a three with 1:01 to go to make it 78-75.

Marcus Paige hit a couple of free throws for Carolina but Mann came right back with a three from the right side with 53 seconds left to pull Belmont to 80-78.

UNC burned clock again but then Paige lost the ball drive to the hoop at the end of the shot clock with 20 seconds to go.

Just seven seconds later, Mann popped in the go ahead basket with 13 seconds left.

A disjointed UNC offense failed to get a shot off and Belmont wrapped it up on a layup just before the buzzer.

While UNC coach Roy Williams said he was proud of the way the team came from behind to take a lead, he was disappointed in the way the game ended.

"We just dug ourselves a hole with mistakes and missed free throws," Williams said.

He blamed himself for not preparing the team well for end of game situations as well as his team's inability to guard Mann's long shots.

While Mann scored a career-high 28 points, the team as a whole scored 15 threes and 20 of 22 free throws. UNC on the other hand hit just 22 of 48 free throws and a mere two of seven three pointers.

Johnson summed it up this way, "When you miss 26 free throws, that's the ball game right there."

JP Tokoto was the main culprit from the line as he managed to score only four of 16 from the line. Williams said during practice he hit 84 percent of 200 free throw shots.

James Michael McAdoo led the Tar Heels with 27 points while Paige scored 17.

It was the first loss at the Smith Center to a non-conference team since 2005.

The Tar Heels, 2-1, have a week off before playing Richmond.


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