On the Tar Heels' senior night, the Orange just simply didn't have enough to force the upset. Graduate senior Michael Gbinije scored a game-high 17 points, while a questionable shot at the end of regulation will be a question Syracuse fans might never understand.
Here are my four takeaways:
1. Poor shooting, yet still in it: Syracuse issued a poor shooting display on Monday evening, going 5-for-20 (25%) from 3-point range and 23-for-56 (41.1%) from the field. Despite the poor performance, the Orange still had a chance to tie the game at the end of regulation. North Carolina wasn't much better last night, but it should be noted SU kept it close all evening despite a offensive performance.
2. Plugged-in Robey: Syracuse got what they needed from Tyler Roberson last night: nine points and 11 rebounds in 34 minutes of action. The junior only had one turnover, and shot 50 percent from the field. He was coming off a season-low 14 minutes played against NC State, and Jim Boeheim was visibly frustrated and annoyed with his play of late. Monday was a step back in the right direction for one the league's top rebounders.
3. SU's final (meaningful) possession: After a Malachi Richardson dunk brought the game back to one possession, the Orange forced a stop and Michael Gbinije brought the ball up court. Syracuse was down three with just under ten seconds to go when the fifth-year guard drove to the basket, missed a layup and UNC grabbed the rebound with seven seconds left. Joel Berry II made both free throws to extend UNC's lead to 75-70. Instead of shooting a 3-pointer, which Jim Boeheim said was the plan, Gbinije missed a layup to secure the win for the Heels'. It was a tough way to end a hard-fought game, but a learning experience nonetheless.
4. Heels' have too much: North Carolina proved why they're a top team in the country on Monday with their plethora of scoring options. The Tar Heels' had five players in double figures: Brice Johnson 14, Joel Berry 13, Justin Jackson, Kennedy Meeks, Isaiah Hicks 10. The Orange did a better job in the second half on their perimeter defense, as UNC went 0-of-6, but the Heels' hit six first-half three pointers, which ultimately proved to be the difference in the game.
Rebounding: North Carolina dominated the glass on Monday night, 40-34. UNC grabbed 19 offensive rebounds to SU's 12. The Tar Heels' scored 16 points off of offensive rebounds, which proved to be a major factor last night.