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Off the cuff: There were two or three plays late that hurt Carolina, that's for sure.

The play that started Iowa State's late run was Marcus Paige's hurried three-point shot with about four minutes left. Carolina should have taken time off the clock and should have gotten a better look.

UNC was up by eight and a bucket of any sort, three or not, could have been a big blow to Iowa State. Instead Iowa State quickly got the ball up the court and hit a three. What could have been an 11 or 10 point lead was instead five.

On Carolina's very next possession the Heels turned it over on a foul. I'm not necessarily saying that McAdoo didn't foul on the offensive end without the ball, but that's a strange call for an official to make anyway, much less that late in a game.

The perfect storm continued on the next possession. After a Nate Britt miss, Kennedy Meeks had a chance for a relatively easy rebound stick back and he rushed it without fully controlling the ball and the tip missed.

North Carolina had every chance to win the game - well, make that almost every chance. After the final bucket, UNC players should have called a timeout. Of course the officials should have known Coach Williams was calling a timeout.

Yes, the clock should have started when Carolina inbounded the ball but once that ship has sailed it seems unfair to simply call the game over. If officials can look at the video to check the clock, it seems they could also look at the coach calling timeout.

A game should not end like that. A season should not end like that.

If you have the game on tape, go back to the 15.7 second mark after McAdoo tied the game at 83-all. The clock failed to start for about one or two seconds after an Iowa State player touched the inbounds pass. If you are going to call a game over when there is time left on the clock because there shouldn't have been time left on the clock, it seems you would be a stickler with 15.7 seconds left also.

In fact, there were times throughout the game where the clock didn't start accurately yet it's only a problem at the end.

Could you imagine an NFL playoff game ending because the officials said the clock should have started and didn't so one team doesn't get to attempt a field goal even though there is time left?

Iowa State 85, Tar Heels 83
Heartbreaking end to Tar Heels' season

North Carolina fought adversity before the season, during the season and in the last game of season.

With a key player sidelined by injury and players in foul trouble, the Tar Heels came from behind to take an eight-point lead late, only to see Iowa State hit seven of its last eight shots to eliminate UNC from the NCAA Tournament 85-83. (3/23)

The last shot, by Iowa State's DeAndre Kane, came with 1.6 seconds left to win it.

UNC's James Michael McAdoo had hit two free throws with 15.7 seconds left to tie the score before Kane hit a driving, high-off-the-backboard shot that won it.

What made the loss even more devastating for Carolina was a clock snafu after the Kane shot and the fact that officials didn't see UNC coach Roy Williams calling for a timeout. After several minutes of viewing the video, officials said that the game clock should have started and didn't and proclaimed the game over.

UNC senior Leslie McDonald said that "it hit us hard" that the Heels didn't get a chance to score after Iowa State's late bucket but neither he nor Williams blamed the officials. "Kane just hit an unbelievable shot," McDonald said.

McAdoo, who now must endure the speculation that he might go pro, agreed. "We played it really well. He just hit a tough shot," McAdoo said.

Kane dominated much of the game, scoring a game-high 24 points. But it took a pair of threes by ISU's Naz Long late to put Kane in the situation to win it.

"They made plays down the stretch that they needed to make," Williams said.

Carolina, down by three at the half after trailing by as many as nine, seemed to be the team making the plays in the second half.

A three by McDonald tied the game at 52-all with 13:14. Marcus Paige hit a pair of threes over a three-minute period, including one with 8:18 left to give Carolina a 66-60 lead.

A weaving drive by JP Tokoto followed by a bucket inside from Kennedy Meeks put the Tar Heels in control at 76-68 with 4:21 left.

But that's when things fell apart for the Heels. Paige, usually a steadying force, put up and missed an ill-advised three early in the shot clock. Seconds later, Long hit the first of his two late threes to cut the lead to 76-71 with 3:42 left.

Instead of the Heels up 11 if the Paige three had gone, all of a sudden the lead was just five with plenty of time left.

An offensive foul call on McAdoo gave it right back to Iowa State which hit another three - this one from Morris - to make it 76-74 with just less than three minutes to go.

Meeks, who had been steady subbing for Brice Johnson (out after twisting an ankle just two minutes into the game), rushed what looked like an easy two on a rebound followed and missed.

Again Iowa State capitalized, tying it at 76-76. McDonald hit a three from the left corner to put the Heels up 79-76 with 1:31 to go.

Carolina was still up by three, 81-78, when Long hit his second key three to tie the game at 81 with 51 seconds left.

Paige lost the ball in the lane and Iowa State quickly turned it into a fastbreak bucket by Kane to give ISU an 83-81 lead with 28 seconds to go.

McAdoo drew a foul with 15.7 seconds left and sank both free throws to tie it, setting up the Kane heroics and the devastating ending for Carolina.

Had Carolina players called a timeout immediately after the basket, they could have gotten a decent last second shot that might have won it. After one timeout, the Heels could have gotten it to midcourt and called a second timeout to set up a shot. Instead, it was a gut-wrenching finish to a game and a season.

Five Tar Heels scored in double figures with Paige leading the way with 19 but he also uncharacteristically had no assists and four turnovers. McDonald hit four threes on his way to 18 points. Meeks, getting his highest minutes in a game this season, scored 15 points and hauled in 13 rebounds. McAdoo, who failed to score in the first half and who missed his first six shots, finished with 14 while Tokoto added 11.

North Carolina finishes the season at 24-10 while Iowa State moves on to the Sweet 16 to face Connecticut.


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