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Off the cuff: Nobody wants to play the Cardinals in Louisville, especially after they are coming off a poorly played loss against Virginia. But Louisville was beatable in this game - if Carolina could hit a shot.

Carolina had a tough time getting the ball past Louisville's zone defense to its big men. And the shots weren't falling from outside.

The Tar Heels have been getting by with some solid inside play and Joel Berry hitting outside shots while Marcus Paige has been in a slump. But with little action inside and with Berry hitting just one of 10 shots, the Tar Heels fell.

The 65 points scored were the fewest of the season.


Louisville 71, Tar Heels 65
UNC cold, sloppy in loss at Louisville

Louisville got the tempo it wanted as North Carolina had an off shooting night and turned the ball over a season-high 16 times, leading to a 71-65 Tar Heel loss, breaking a 12-win streak. (2/1)

The Tar Heels are used to scoring in the 80s but struggled to get 27 points in the first half and didn't have the shooting touch to come back once the Cardinals broke open a close game over the last 10 minutes.

Carolina shot just 34.5 percent from the field and Marcus Paige continued his three-point shooting woes hitting just one of six. Joel Berry, who had been carrying the load from beyond the arc, managed just one of five from three. The Tar Heels as a team was just three of 17 in three pointers.

The Tar Heels trailed 49-47 when Louisville's Damion Lee took over the game. First he hit a quick three from the top of the key and less than a minute later he banged in one from the wing. After a long two by Trey Lewis, Louisville had its largest lead to that point at 58-51 with 7:05 left.

The Cardinals got the lead up to eight before Carolina started creeping back in it. A Paige steal ended in a Justin Jackson layup to cut it to 65-61 with 1:55 to play. Lewis penetrated and scored on a driving layup with 1:42 left to give Louisville a six-point cushion.

With 1:11 left, an aggressive Carolina offense managed a bucket by Jackson, who was fouled, but he missed the opportunity to make it a one possession game when he failed to hit the free throw.

Berry did hit a pair of free throws with 35 seconds left to pull the Heels within a bucket at 67-65. But, with 26 seconds left, Paige fouled one of Louisville's best free throw shooters in Lewis and he hit both ends of a one-and-one to make it 69-65.

Carolina had four good looks - a Berry layup, a Berry open three and two tips by Isaiah Hicks - but nothing fell.

UNC coach Roy Williams summed up the game: "We couldn't get the ball to go in the bucket for us."

On the other hand, Louisville shot 53 percent in the second half and finished at 43 percent. Lee led Louisville, coming off a loss to Virginia, with 24 points as the Cardinals improve to 18-4 and 7-2, just a game behind the Tar Heels, in the ACC.

Jackson, with 16, and Johnson, with 15, were the only Tar Heels in double figures.

The Tar Heels, now 18-3 and 8-1 in the ACC, travel to Notre Dame Saturday.


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