ACC

No. 4 Virginia defeats No. 8 North Carolina, snapping Tar Heels’ seven-game winning streak

Roy Williams following loss to Virginia: ‘They made the plays down the stretch and we didn’t’

Roy Williams addresses the media following the Tar Heels' loss to Virginia on Monday, February 11, 2019 at the Smith Center in Chapel Hill, N.C.
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Roy Williams addresses the media following the Tar Heels' loss to Virginia on Monday, February 11, 2019 at the Smith Center in Chapel Hill, N.C.

No. 8 North Carolina had a chance to defeat No. 4 Virginia and make a statement in the ACC. The Tar Heels led by seven points with nine minutes left in the game.

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Virginia’s Kyle Guy (5) and teammate Ty Jerome (11) react after Guy hit a 3-pointer with 1:10 to seal the Cavaliers’ 69-61 victory over North Carolina on Monday, February 11, 2019 at the Smith Center in Chapel Hill, N.C. Robert Willett rwillett@newsobserver.com

But the Cavaliers were just too good. UVA junior guard Kyle Guy hit a 3-pointer with 1:10 left to give the Cavaliers a six point lead and the game. Guy was also fouled but missed the free throw.

The Tar Heels attempted to come back with some desperation 3’s but could not hit them. UVA beat UNC 69-61.

“We had some chances to win the game but they made plays down the stretch and we didn’t,” UNC coach Roy Williams said. “I think they’re defense was better than our offense, and their offense was better than our defense.”

The loss snaps the Tar Heels’ seven-game winning streak and gives them only their second conference loss in 11 games. The Cavaliers have now beaten the Tar Heels four consecutive times dating back to the 2016-17 season. UNC freshman Coby White led the Tar Heels in scoring with 17 points, but he was 6 of 19 from the floor. Senior Cam Johnson had 16 points, and was 6 of 14 from the floor.

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North Carolina coach Roy Williams reacts to a foul against his team in the first half against Virginia on Monday, February 11, 2019 at the Smith Center in Chapel Hill, N.C. Robert Willett rwillett@newsobserver.com

UNC freshman wing Nassir Little went down with a right ankle injury in the first half. He did not return.

The Cavaliers got out to a fast start on the Tar Heels. They hit 6 of 9 three-pointers in the first half and led 36-29 at halftime.

The Tar Heels trailed 40-32 with a little more than 17 minutes left in the game, before going on a 17-3 run to take a six-point lead. The run was started by a Coby White layup, followed by a Kenny Williams 3-pointer from the top of the key. He held the follow through a little longer than normal. After that, UNC got a defensive stop, and found Garrison Brooks on the other end for an open dunk.

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Virginia’s Caleb Ellis (25) defends North Carolina’s Coby White (2) during the first half on Monday, February 11, 2019 at the Smith Center in Chapel Hill, N.C. Robert Willett rwillett@newsobserver.com

UVA’s De’Andre Hunter answered with a 3-pointer, but Johnson scored on the other end, while being fouled. That gave the Tar Heels a one point lead with about 14 minutes left.

The run was capped off by a White 3-pointer that made it a six-point game with about 12 minutes left.

But the Cavaliers (21-2, 9-2 ACC) battled back ending the game on a 21-6 run to beat the Tar Heels (19-5, 9-2). During the Cavaliers’ run, they had no turnovers and made seven of their last eight shots.

“I think their defense got stronger,” Williams said. “We took a couple of rushed shots, didn’t make shots. I don’t think we turned the ball over but eight times, but I think we had two turnovers during that stretch, too.”

The Tar Heels’ 61 points were a season low. UNC shot 35 percent from the floor, while UVA shot 53 percent.

“They are always there,” UNC senior guard Kenny Williams said of UVA’s defense. “They play great defense and that is what they hang their hats on.”

Guy finished with 20 points. UVA junior guard Ty Jerome, who had been dealing with a back injury, had 15 points and 11 assists. UNC’s next game is Saturday at Wake Forest (9-13, 2-8).

Jonathan M. Alexander has been covering the North Carolina Tar Heels since May 2018. He previously covered Duke basketball and recruiting in the ACC. He is an alumnus of N.C. Central University.

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