The Eagles came away with their fifth ACC win on Saturday in Chapel Hill after defeating the UNC Tar Heels, 71-70. The game came down to the final seconds, as Jared Hamilton hit two of three free-throws after his foot was clipped on a three-point attempt with 17 seconds remaining to win the game for the Eagles.
Cole Anthony, who led the Tar Heels’ late comeback, saw his game-winning attempt sail wide. The win snapped BC’s 12-game losing streak against North Carolina.
BC was outplayed on the boards, but won this game thanks to their excellent shooting. UNC had 42 rebounds to BC’s 35 and a staggering 16 offensive rebounds to BC’s seven.
The Eagles shot far better from the field with an overall shooting split of 46.4% - 38.9% - 70.6%. The Tar Heels, on the other hand, shot poorly from the floor with an overall split of 36.1% - 21.1% - 71.0%.
Four Eagles scored in double figures with Jared Hamilton scoring a team-high 18 points off the bench. He additionally shot 3-6 from deep to lead the team in threes made.
Nik Popovic also contributed an efficient ten points off the bench, shooting 4-5 from the field. His defense was huge for BC as he had a team-high four steals.
Derryck Thornton and Jay Heath both were key for the Eagles and delivered some massive baskets. Heath scored 12 points and had a team-high six assists. Thornton had 15 points, 13 of which came in the second half. In the closing minutes, Thornton had back to back clutch pull-up jumpers to give BC a 69-68 lead.
Steffon Mitchell and Jarius Hamilton also provided some important minutes. Hamilton scored five points and added five rebounds as well. Mitchell played excellent defensive stretches on top of scoring five, corralling eight rebounds, and assisting two.
UNC jumped out to a 12-7 lead over the first seven minutes thanks to baskets by Armando Bacot and Garrison Brooks. BC battled back with a three by Jared Hamilton and CJ Felder dunk to tie the game.
Both sides exchanged blows in a back and forth end to the half. The largest lead held by either team over the remainder of the first half was just four points by BC. The Eagles held a 32-30 advantage at the half.
The Eagles came out hot to start the second half. A 13-5 run gave them a 45-35 lead with just under 14 minutes left. A Mitchell lay-up then a Mitchell assist to Popovic extended the lead to ten.
Minutes later, UNC went on an 11–0 run of their own to take back the lead and make the score 49-48. The Eagles retook the advantage at 61-56 due to four clutch Thornton free-throws.
Cole Anthony then scored four straight for the Tar Heels in the last two minutes, but his return from injury was squandered. Jared Hamilton was fouled shooting a three, much to the chagrin of the UNC crowd. Fortunately for the Eagles, he hit two of three to seal the win.
Despite UNC’s struggles this season, winning on the road at Chapel Hill is still a great achievement. The Eagles are beginning to find mid-season form as their shooting in a hostile environment was outstanding.
They will look to continue their momentum as they return home to host an extremely challenging No. 9 Duke Blue Devil team this Tuesday at 7 pm in Conte Forum.
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