Here is a look at the good and the bad of Carolina's 16th loss in 22 games and 10th in 12 Atlantic Coast Conference games.
Comeback – The Heels showed tremendous character cutting a 19-3 deficit to 27-20 in the first half and overcoming a 52-36 second-half deficit to take a 56-55 lead. They did it with great effort, extending their defense and getting steals that led to easy scoring opportunities. For a few minutes they looked like – Carolina.
Zone defense – Trailing 19-3, Matt Doherty smartly switched to a zone defense. It slowed the Cavs down and allowed the Heels to gain some defensive confidence and regroup. The players were active in the zone, communicated exceptionally well, and rotated the way a zone should be played. In the 10 minutes after making the switch UNC outscored UVa 17-8.
Kris Lang – UNC's warrior and leader powered in 19 points despite being double teamed on nearly every touch. His presence allowed other Heels to get some quality looks. Lang also played much of the game in pain as he continues to aggravate various nagging injuries.
Intensity – The Heels played with great intensity and focus. Although they made enough silly mistakes to lose the game, they didn't allow it to affect their level of effort or mental state. Regardless of whether they win again or not, UNC fans should be happy if this effort continues.
Jawad Williams – Williams had another solid game even though he attempted only two shots (1-2) in 27 minutes, which isn't entirely a bad sign. After scoring 21 points on Sunday, most freshmen would have been impatient and forced shots that weren't there, but Williams let the game come to him and didn't let his lack of touches affect his overall play. He grabbed seven rebounds (also finished with nine points) and fought under the boards. He is becoming a much more physical player.
Free throws – The Heels' improvement at the charity stripe continued as they knocked down 27 of 33 (81.8%) freebies. Jason Capel was 10-10 and Williams 7-8.
Late-game execution – In the five minutes after taking the lead, UNC committed four turnovers – three by Adam Boone – and took three ill-advised shots in which the Heels did not get a chance at the offensive rebound. That is seven poor possessions in five minutes.
Jason Capel – Capel was second on the team with 12 points but he hardly had a quality offensive night. He was 1-11 from the field (0-6 from 3-point range) and took some questionable shots, especially down the stretch. He did grab nine rebounds and fought hard in the paint, but his overall defense and poor play on offense hurt the Heels. He appears slower than before the concussion.
Brian Bersticker – In just seven minutes of action, Bersticker allowed five layups and fouled out. Of his fouls, UVa converted three free throws, meaning he gave up 13 points in seven minutes. Why he continues to try to block every shot instead of standing his ground is a mystery.
Rebounding – The Tar Heels were pounded on the glass, 43-29, and allowed the Cavs 21 second-chance points. The Heels battled but weren't quick enough to snag caroms away from the basket and were slow in boxouts, allowing the smaller Wahoos to get quality positioning on offense.
16th loss - The loss marked the first time in 91 years of UNC basketball that Carolina reached 16 defeats in a season.
The Tar Heels return home on Sunday to host Florida State at 3 p.m. at the Dean E. Smith Center. The game will be televised on JP Sports.
Andrew Jones is in his sixth year covering football and basketball for Inside Carolina. He is also in his fourth year as a copy editor and staff writer for the Wilmington Star-News and hosts a nightly radio show on WAAV-AM980 in Wilmington. He has also written for ACCNews and once published The College Game and the former Total Sports. He can be reached via e-mail at: AJWAAV@aol.com.