CORAL GABLES, Fla. – No. 9 North Carolina’s seven-game ACC winning streak is over after an abysmal shooting performance in the first half at the Watsco Center in South Florida. Miami built a 19-point lead before halftime and led by as many as 22 points before securing a 77-62 victory on Saturday.
It seemed as though UNC would continue its roll through the ACC in jumping out to an 11-2 lead. In a mere matter of minutes, however, that hot start turned frigidly cold. The Hurricanes outscored the Tar Heels 37-11 over the final 16:28 of the first half to take a 39-22 lead at the break.
Justin Jackson’s 3-pointer gave UNC its final lead of the game at 16-15 with 13:36 to play in the first half. The Tar Heels scored six points and made just one field goal after that 3-ball, missing 18 of their 19 field goal attempts and committing nine turnovers.
UNC’s 22 points were a season-low in a half and its 17-point halftime deficit is a season high.
UNC’s 20.7 field goal percentage in the first half is the second-lowest shooting percentage in a half during the Roy Williams era. The record low was set in the first half at Georgia Tech in 2011 (20.0). The Tar Heels shot 48.4 percent after halftime and 35.0 percent for the game.
Jackson Primary Scoring Option
Jackson led UNC with 21 points on 7-of-16 shooting (4-of-10 3FG). It's the 11th time this season he's scored 20 or more points and the fifth time in seven games. His Tar Heel teammates were a combined 14-of-44 from the floor, good for a 31.8 shooting percentage.
UNC’s starting backcourt, junior Joel Berry and sophomore Kenny Williams, were a combined 1-of-16 from the floor and 0-of-9 from 3-point range. Senior guard Nate Britt was the only other Tar Heel in double figures, scoring 10 points on 3-of-4 shooting.
The Difficult ACC Road
The Tar Heels have throttled ACC opponents at the Smith Center, winning all four home games by an average of 25 points. The closest scoring differential was the 96-83 win over Florida State.
The road has been a different story. UNC lost at Georgia Tech by 12, needed overtime to top Clemson and outlasted Wake Forest for a 93-87 win before pulling away from Boston College late for a 90-82 win.
Miami has won 23 of its last 24 home games.
Canes’ Hot Spurt
Miami flipped the game’s script in between the first and second media timeouts with an offensive flurry. Trailing 11-2 at the first media break, the Hurricanes scored 20 points on its next eight possessions, ignited by a trio of 3-pointers and three more points off free throws following a foul beyond the arc. That’s good for an average of 2.5 points per possession.
Miami only needed 4:39 off the clock to turn a nine-point deficit into a 22-16 lead.
UNC was outrebounded for only the second time this season and the first time in ACC play. The Hurricanes pulled down 41 rebounds to the Tar Heels' 36. No. 4 Kentucky was the only other team to outrebound UNC (39-35).
Junior wing Theo Pinson missed his 17th game of the season on Saturday after rolling his right ankle in the win over Virginia Tech on Thursday. Team doctors continue to evaluate Pinson’s injury.
Pinson, who is averaging 6.2 points and 5.2 rebounds off the bench, wore a suit and a boot on his right foot during the loss.
UNC returns home for the final leg of its three-games-in-six-days stretch against Pittsburgh on Tuesday (7 p.m./ESPN2). The Panthers are 12-9 (1-7 ACC) and have lost six straight games.