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Off the cuff: North Carolina didn't look like it had much in the tank at Virginia Tech. They'll need to play with only a day's rest late in the season but right now they don't look up to it.

Carolina thought it would have a rebounding advantage on the Hokies but the home team outrebounded the Heels by one and got more points in the lane and off offensive rebounds.

Carolina settled for threes often and missed more than two-thirds of them. On the other hand, the tide turned as Virginia Tech hit three straight threes themselves late in the first half to go up by seven at the half.

In the second half, while the Heels got close briefly, Virginia Tech was having a good ole time popping in shots from inside and outside.

Ahmed Hill, who Carolina fans would probably vote the biggest jerk on the Hokies team, poured salt in the wounds a couple of times in the second half after he scored by showing off, running his mouth and staring at defenders after scoring.

On this night, a less aggressive, apparently more tired Carolina team couldn't do anything about it.

They had to listen to boisterous VT students yelling "Just like football," referencing the Hokies blow out win over the Tar Heels on the gridiron.

Even though Carolina has handled Virginia Tech lately, having won seven straight before this game, it's never much fun to watch the two teams play as TV is obsessed with showing the, let's say, colorful Hokie coach Buzz Williams.

ESPN actually shrunk the game action for about a minute so they could put a box on the screen showing Buzz's antics on the sidelines.

This is a Virginia Tech team that the Tar Heels should want to play again in the ACC Tournament for revenge. If the Heels come out less aggressive were that to come about, God help them survive the wrath of Roy Williams and, indeed, the Carolina fans.

Carolina is better than it showed against Virginia Tech. The Heels have five days to stew about it before hosting NC State Saturday.

Virginia Tech 80, Tar Heels 69
Hokies frustrate, upset tired Tar Heels

North Carolina looked tired and frustrated as Virginia Tech pulled an 80-69 upset on its home court. (1/22)

The Tar Heels were coming off four straight ACC wins, including one just two days earlier, and had beaten the Hokies seven times in a row. But the Heels were cold and Virginia Tech was more aggressive, even outrebounding Carolina - something that's been unusual this season.

"They were much more aggressive physically and mentally," UNC coach Roy Williams said. "They were more into it. Their sense of urgency was greater than ours."

Coach Williams blamed himself for the loss - sort of. "It's been strange as I'm spending too much time coaching energy level. But I've got to do a better job," he said.

He mentioned that he had three tired signals come from players at the same time. "I guess I haven't done a good enough job running their butts to get them in shape," Coach Williams said.

Other than the Hokies outrebounding the Heels by one, there were other problems. Virginia Tech outscored Carolina 32-26 in the lane. The Hokies scored 11 points off rebounds in the second half compared to none for the Heels. And Carolina only got to the line five times, hitting all five free throws.

The shooting woes came from the field as Carolina threw up almost as many three pointers as two pointers - and the Heels didn't shoot either well. The Heels hit 10 of 31 threes and 17 of 32 twos.

Luke Maye and Joel Berry were about the only offense the Heels had as each scored 23 points. No one else scored more than five.

The Tar Heels led by as many as seven in the first half at 21-14 but the Hokies used a 9-0 run at the end of the half to take a commanding 39-32 advantage at the half.

Twice in the second half the Tar Heels cut the lead to two - once at 42-40 following a Berry three from the top of the key and once at 48-46 on a fast break basket by Jalek Felton following a UNC steal.

But Virginia Tech went on a 16-5 run to go up 64-51 with 7:45 left. It never got closer than eight the rest of the way as the Hokies upped the advantage to as much as 16 points.

Carolina, which hosts NC State Saturday, falls to 16-5 overall and 5-3 in the ACC while Virginia Tech improves to 14-6 and 3-4 in the conference.

Box Score

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