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Off the cuff: The Northern Iowa game was one that a lot of Tar Heels fan may have missed. They may have been happy they did but with the UNC football team playing for a division title and with the basketball game on ESPN3, which is available online only, it's understandable.

The tide seemed to turn a bit when Northern Iowa was able to bottle up Kennedy Meeks and the Tar Heels settled for jump shots. Even big men were taking mid-range jumpers.

If Carolina is going to live up to a No. 1 ranking, the big men are going to have to dominate, regardless of whether Marcus Paige is in the game or not.

Guard Joel Berry was limited due to fouls and that hurt. But Justin Jackson finally looked good this season as he scored 25 points.

I think, though, that this season if Jackson is scoring that much, something else is wrong.


Northern Iowa 71, Tar Heels 67
No.1 Carolina suffers first loss of season

No. 1 North Carolina blew a 16-point second-half lead as homestanding Northern Iowa used the long ball to come from behind to beat the Tar Heels 71-67. (11/21)

UNC's Justin Jackson, who finished with 25 points, led the Heels to a 50-34 lead early in the second half. But Northern Iowa went on a 22-4 run that included three straight three-pointers to take a 56-54 lead.

The Tar Heels managed to get the lead back at 58-56 before Northern Iowa's Matt Bohannon, who finished with 19 points, sank a three. Carolina was able to tie it at 63 with about four minutes to go but were unable to take the lead.

The Heels had the ball with a chance to score in the last 30 seconds but Joel Berry turned the ball over on a long skip pass that didn't have enough on it. A free throw wrapped it up with six seconds to go.

"I'm very disappointed in me moreso than our team," UNC coach Roy Williams said. "We acted like we hadn't been coached very well."

He pointed to bad shots being taken as well as turnovers in critical situations. "But you've got to give their guys credit for making their shots," he said.

Kennedy Meeks started the game with eight quick points but went more than 30 minutes of game time without another bucket and ended with just 10 points. Defensively, Northern Iowa was able to double team the big men when they got close to the basket. Offensively, the Panthers were able to penetrate the lane and then push it back out for open threes.

With Carolina holding its biggest lead of the first half at 41-29, Northern Iowa's Wes Washpun, who scored 21, hit a 55-footer at the buzzer for one of the bigger threes of the day for the Panthers, who hit 11 threes on the day.

Northern Iowa was 31-4 a year ago and was ranked in the top 10 much of the season. It was to be a homecoming game for Marcus Paige, who is from Iowa, but he sat out once again with a broken bone in his hand.

"If you had told me (Marcus) was going to break his hand and not be able to play, I wouldn't have scheduled this game," Williams said.

The Tar Heels, now 3-1, play Northwestern at 9:15 p.m. Monday at the Hall of Fame Classic in Kansas City.


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