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Off the cuff: Coby White wasn't looking very good in the first half as he turned the ball over three times within a few minutes and found himself on the bench beside UNC coach Roy Williams a couple of times.

But, boy, he was great in the second half. The Tar Heels wouldn't have won without him. He ended up with 33 points on only 16 shots. He hit seven of 10 threes and didn't turn the ball over in the second half.

An old-fashioned three-point play and a drive to the hoop, followed by a three from the left win early in the second half put the Heels up 47-40.

But the Heels couldn't stop Miami from hitting threes. They had 12 of them in the second half.

Trailing 61-54, the largest deficit, White stroked in a three from the right side at the end of the shot clock to draw Carolina to 61-57.

A White three with five minutes left kept the Heels in striking distance at 66-63 and then his three from the right wing put the Heels up 68-66.

After the Heels fell behind again, 69-68, White banged in a three from the left corner to put the Heels up again, 71-69.

A White three with 41 seconds left kept Carolina in it before Luke Maye's three tied it to send the game into overtime.

While Williams and Maye hit big shots in overtime, it took White slapping the ball away from Chris Lykes in the closing seconds to secure the win.

"We fought and fought and fought," White said. "The coaches believe in us and we believe in ourselves. Miami hit some tough shots but we came through it."

Tar Heels 88, Miami 85
Big plays late send Heels over Miami

North Carolina used threes, a dunk, free throws and steals late to claw past Miami 88-85 in overtime in Chapel Hill. (2/9)

Down 75-71 with 45 seconds left, it wasn't looking good for the home team. But freshman Coby White, calm and cool, hit a three in front of the Carolina bench to draw the Heels within a point. After Miami's Zack Johnson scored with 20 seconds left, again it wasn't looking good.

With White doing most of the scoring, Miami doubled teamed him in the closing seconds but UNC coach Roy Williams had drawn up a play for senior Luke Maye instead. An open Maye, who wasn't having his best game of the season, drilled a three with 10 seconds left to tie the score.

Chris Lykes, who led Miami with 27 points, missed a three at the buzzer to send the game into overtime.

With the score tied at 79-79 after a Garrison Brooks dunk, Kenny Williams, who had only two points prior, took a pass from White and sank a three in rhythm from the top of the key to give UNC an 82-79 lead with 2:05 left.

Miami's Johnson cut the margin to one at 86-85 with 24 seconds left. Cam Johnson was fouled with 12 seconds left and he hit both free throws for an 88-85 lead.

The Hurricanes had 12 threes in the second half alone but didn't get a chance for a 13th to tie it as White knocked the ball away from Lykes and Williams came up with it, passing to Brandon Robinson as time expired.

"I feel very lucky right now," Coach Williams said adding that he called more plays in the last five minutes than he has all season.

"I questioned our team's toughness - I think they answered it," he said.

Carolina led by as many as seven points in the first half but was ahead only 31-30 at the half.

The Heels got the lead back up to seven at 47-40 early in the second half but Miami answered with a 13-0 run to go up 53-47.

Miami led until White popped in a three from the right wing to give Carolina the lead at 68-66 with 3:17 to go in regulation. But an 11-6 Miami run, highlighted by a Lykes three over the much taller Nassir Little, put the Hurricanes up 77-74.

That's when Maye's heroics tied it and Williams' heroics in overtime helped end it.

White led the way with 33 points though. Maye scored 20 while Johnson added 12 and Little chipped in 10.

North Carolina, winners of seven ACC contests in a row, moves to 19-4 and tied for first in the ACC at 9-1 in the league. Miami, short-handed by injuries, falls to 10-13 overall and 2-9 in the conference.

The Tar Heels host Virginia at 7 p.m. Monday.

Box score

UNC's Coby White led the Tar Heels with 33 points. (UNC Sports Information photo.)

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