Senior night in Chapel Hill ended with a dramatic sequence that conjured bad memories for North Carolina.
Miami pulled off a 91-88 upset thanks to a dizzying finishing sequence reminiscent of the title game heartbreak Villanova dealt the Tar Heels two years ago.
Playing the role of Marcus Paige was Joel Berry, whose heavily contested game-tying 3-pointer with 4.1 seconds to go appeared as though it as going to send Tuesday’s game to overtime. Playing the role of Kris Jenkins was Ja’Quan Newton, who returned the favor with an even more difficult running 3-pointer over Berry’s outstretched hands.
All that was missing was Jim Larranaga channeling Jay Wright and whispering, “Bang!” to himself on his way to shake Roy Williams’ hand.
MIAMI UPSETS THE HEELS!
The Hurricanes snap No. 9 North Carolina's six-game win streak to get a huge win in Chapel Hill. pic.twitter.com/EJCt1V1XaN
— ESPN (@espn) February 28, 2018
While Miami made a wise choice not burning its last timeout and attacking the Tar Heels without their defense being set, the Hurricanes could not have felt good when Newton pulled up from nearly 40 feet. Not only is Newton shooting 16.7 percent from behind the arc this season, he also had time to take another dribble and get closer.
Newton’s buzzer beater secured a statement-making road victory for a Miami team that has underachieved relative to preseason expectations. This was a reminder that the young yet talented Hurricanes will be a dangerous opponent to draw in next month’s NCAA tournament.
Miami shot 54.8 percent from the field on Tuesday night and made half the 22 threes they attempted. Newton’s 15 points made him one of six Hurricanes on the floor who averaged double figures.
Berry kept North Carolina within striking distance on a night when the Tar Heels did not perform to their usual standard defensively. He scored 31 points and had several critical layups down the stretch as the Tar Heels tried to claw their way back into it.
Even though the finishing sequence was shades of Villanova, North Carolina can take solace that the significance of the game was nothing alike.
The Tar Heels won’t have to stew over this shot for an entire offseason. They can already start preparing for Saturday’s game against Duke.
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