Maybe these teams are peeking ahead to Saturday’s CBS Sports Classic in the Big Easy.
On Tuesday night in Los Angeles, UCLA nearly blew a 24-point lead before holding off South Dakota, 85-82, at Pauley Pavilion. The Bruins play Kentucky at 4 p.m. Saturday in New Orleans in the second game of the doubleheader.
On Wednesday night, North Carolina was not so lucky. Before Roy Williams’ team faces Ohio State at 1:30 Saturday at the Smoothie King Center, the fifth-ranked Tar Heels lost 79-75 to Wofford in the Dean Smith Center.
Fletcher Magee poured in 27 points for the victorious Terriers. It was Wofford’s first win over a Top 25 team, but the Terriers are now 2-0 against ACC teams this season. Now 8-4 overall, Wofford beat Georgia Tech earlier in the season.
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North Carolina dropped to 10-2, suffering its first loss since being drilled 63-45 last month by Michigan State in a bracket final of the PK80 Classic in Portland.
North Carolina made just seven of 25 three-point shots and shot just 36.4 percent from the floor overall. Pittsburgh transfer Cameron Johnson, playing in his first game with the Tar Heels, was just one of five from three-point land. Joel Berry was three of eight. Luke Maye was two for six.
“We got a big win on Sunday, and we’re fat and happy and think things are just going to be so easy for us,” Williams said afterward.
North Carolina had trailed at Tennessee for most of the game Sunday before an 11-3 run over the final minute gave the Heels a 78-73 win over Rick Barnes’ club. Down
Joe Giglio of the Raleigh News and Observer reports, “In the final 6 minutes, UNC missed four 3s which could have tied the game and twice in the final 4 minutes were within one point.
“Each time, Wofford came up with an answer. Guard Nathan Hoover hit a huge 3 with 3:43 left, after Cam Johnson — playing in his first game of the season for UNC — made a pair of free throws to cut Wofford’s lead to 70-69.”
ESPN’s Jeff Borzello writes, “North Carolina isn’t going to overwhelm teams the way it has in the past. It’s not going to be able to rely on three- and four-year starters at every position. There certainly are worse duos to start a team with than Berry and Maye, but Williams knows he needs top-notch performances from those two on a nightly basis to win in the ACC.”