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Off the cuff: Even though the Tar Heels came back in the second half to briefly take a lead, this game at Florida State was lost in the first half.

At one point, the Seminoles had hit eight of 14 threes and led by as many as 13 points in the opening half. Plus, Florida State was getting to the free throw line much more than Carolina.

The Tar Heels ended up with 11 threes of their own, equaling the Seminoles but Florida State scored seven more points from the foul line, getting there 13 more times.

Carolina actually scored three more baskets on 20 more shots than Florida State but came up one point short.

Florida State, ranked 24th and at home, was favored in the game by 1 but it still seemed like an upset.

This is one of those games where you wish the teams played a home-and-home series like the good old days. Carolina certainly would like to play them again.

Florida State 81, Tar Heels 80
This Carolina rally falls short at FSU

A hot-shooting Florida State team drained nine threes in the first half to work up a 13 point lead and managed to survive a North Carolina rally, 81-80 in Tallahassee. (1/3)

The Tar Heels, trailing 51-40 at the half, went on a 16-3 run to take their first lead since it was 5-4. A Sterling Manley follow with 12:12 to go put the Heels up 60-59.

The score went back and forth for the next four minutes. But after UNC's Andrew Platek drove the baseline to tie it at 67-67, Carolina never tied or led again. A 9-0 Seminole run in less than two minutes put Florida State up 76-67. Two old-fashioned three-point plays and an open three did the damage.

Joel Berry, who scored a game-high 28 points, nearly brought the Heels back by himself. After swishing a three with 2:49 left, Berry drove the lane for two more with 1:36 left to pull Carolina within a basket at 79-77.

After a pair of FSU free throws and a missed Berry shot, the Seminoles killed some clock before UNC's Theo Pinson stole a long pass and got it to Berry, who hit another three to get the Heels within a point at 81-80 with 30 seconds left.

After FSU's Phil Cofer missed a pair of free throws with 24 seconds left, Carolina got the ball back with a chance to win the game. However, with time running down, Berry couldn't hit a driving runner and the Seminoles held on.

"That was two teams fighting pretty doggone hard," UNC coach Roy Williams said. "In the first half, we couldn't do anything with the three-point shooters."

That improved in the second half but then FSU attacked the basket better than Carolina, Coach Williams said. He said even though the Tar Heels had the lead and the ball twice in the second half, they ultimately couldn't dig out of the big hold in the first half, when Florida State got up by as many as 13 points.

A three by Braian, yes Braian, Angola put the Seminoles up 31-18 midway through the first half. From that point on, Carolina was scrambling to get back in it. Even though the Heels caught up eight minutes into the second half, that 9-0 second half run turned out to be more than Carolina could overcome.

Joining Berry in double figures were Kenny Williams, who scored 18, and Luke Maye, who put in 14.

Carolina falls to 12-3 overall and 1-1 in the ACC and travels to No. 8 Virginia Saturday afternoon, Jan. 6.

Box Score

Kenny Williams (UNC Sports Information Photo by J.D. Lyon Jr.)

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