Off the cuff: North Carolina, after losing its second game in a row, has several issues to address quickly or this will prove to be a short end to the season.
This should be a time that the Tar Heels are getting ready for post season. Instead they are regressing. Forcing only two turnovers? Allowing 20 offensive rebounds resulting in 23 points? Fouling so much that the other team gets to the line for 38 foul shots?
It's not looking good and beating a poor BC team Tuesday night isn't going to do anything to provide answers to the issues.
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.
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Tar Heels falter to lose second straight
North Carolina led by 15 in the first half and by nine at the half but faltered in the second half as Notre Dame scored on turnovers and hit a slew of free throws to beat the No. 2 Tar Heels 80-76. (2/6)
The Irish scored 19 points off 13 Tar Heel turnovers while Carolina didn't capitalize on the mere two Notre Dame turnovers. At one point in the second half, Notre Dame hit 20 straight free throws to erase a Tar Heel lead and then hold off the visitors.
The Irish got to the line 38 times, hitting 31 of them, while the Tar Heels shot just 21 free throws, hitting 16. UNC coach Roy Williams didn't blame the officiating, he blamed the fact that his players weren't getting into position and were reaching out to foul.
It was the first time that the Heels have lost back-to-back games. Coach Williams said the Heels aren't going pack it in after a couple of losses but "right now I'm extremely frustrated."
He said he didn't coach well and that his team didn't put forth the effort and the intensity that Notre Dame did. In fact, the Irish scored 10 more points off offensive rebounds than did the Tar Heels - usually a UNC strength. "We have to compete when it's tough, not just when it's easy," he said.
Marcus Paige broke out of a shooting slump as hit five of eight threes and ended with a game-high 21 points. A long three with 8:08 left in the first half gave Carolina a commanding 26-14 lead. He hit another less than five minutes later and Joel Berry folloed it with a three of his own to give the Heels a 37-22 lead.
An 8-2 Notre Dame run over the last two minutes of the first half cut the margin to nine at 39-30 at the break.
An 18-9 run over the first eight minutes of the second half tied the score for the Irish at 48-all. It went back and forth over the next five minutes but, with Notre Dame up 65-64, UNC's Justin Jackson missed an open layup and the Tar Heels never led or tied again.
Carolina cut the margin to one twice, including on two free throws by Paige with 32 seconds left but Notre Dame's Demeterius Jackson, who finished with 19, hit a pair of three throws to stretch the margin to three. Paige missed a three with 12 seconds left to end the Heels' last chance.
Paige led five Tar Heels in double figures as Brice Johnson scored 14, Isaiah Hicks and Kennedy Meeks had 12 and Berry got 10.
The Tar Heels, now 18-4 and 8-2 in the ACC, travel to Boston College Tuesday night. The last time the Heels won it was at home to BC.
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.
© 2015 CB3media Cary, NC
Heel Prints reviewed each UNC game
As a student sports editor years ago, prior to the season, Clifton Barnes predicted a national championship for the Tar Heels and indeed they won. In fact he wrote his lede paragraph for the national championship game almost a year early. He regrets that he didn't keep a journal after each game. He kept a journal after each game of the 2007-2008 season and you can reach them here. At the request of readers, he has kept up his journal of each game ever since. He also has written about UNC baseball and wrote an analysis after each 2008 UNC football game.
Editor's Note: HeelPrints chronicled the UNC basketball, baseball and football seasons for 2008 and 2009. Since the vast majority of comments I get about the site relate to basketball and since this isn't a paying job for me, I decided to limit my coverage and analysis to basketball. Baseball and football will remain archived and if I have comments or opinions I want to make on those or any other sports at UNC, I will make them here on the front page and then archive them in the corresponding sports section. Thanks for all the positive comments I have received about the site. Should I get sponsorship in the future, I will reconsider adding baseball and football again. Ironically, my favorite sports to watch in person are baseball and football. But my first connections to UNC came from watching Dean Smith's basketball teams on TV or listening to them on the radio in the days before all the games were televised. It should come as no surprise that people pay more attention to the basketball coverage. Thanks for your interest in this site.