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Tar Heels look to put offensive nightmare at UVA behind them

UNC Notebook

By Ross Martin

Special to the Times
Posted 2/28/17

An inept offensive performance Monday night against Virginia gave North Carolina its first lost in five games.

The Tar Heels, who moved up from eighth to fifth in The Associated Press Top 25 earlier Monday, were held to 43 total points, the …

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Tar Heels look to put offensive nightmare at UVA behind them

UNC Notebook

Posted
An inept offensive performance Monday night against Virginia gave North Carolina its first lost in five games.

The Tar Heels, who moved up from eighth to fifth in The Associated Press Top 25 earlier Monday, were held to 43 total points, the lowest point total at UNC in the Roy Williams era and the lowest point total for Carolina since a 47-40 loss to Duke in 1979.

The Heels shot 35.4 percent from the field and 25 percent from 3-point range as a stifling Cavalier defense prevented UNC from getting into its offensive sets, establishing a consistent interior game and getting out in transition.

Only point guard Joel Berry II scored in double figures (12 points) for UNC as the usually consistent Justin Jackson and Kennedy Meeks were held to seven and six points, respectively. Starters Isaiah Hicks and Theo Pinson combined for two total points in the outing.

Virginia forced 12 Tar Heels turnovers in the first half and was productive from behind the arc, making 10-of-24 attempts (41.7 percent). Every scent of a UNC run was stymied by a big Cavalier 3-pointer.

SHARE OF ACC TITLE

Despite Monday’s loss, the Heels’ 85-67 win Pittsburgh on Saturday afternoon gave them at least a share of the Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season championship. UNC also secured a No. 1 seed and a double bye for the ACC tournament in Brooklyn and will play at noon Thursday, March 9, in the Barclays Center

Roy Williams has now won eight ACC regular-season titles in 14 seasons at his alma mater. No other ACC coach has more than three during the same time period.

THE BLUE DEVILS LOOM

Next for UNC is a rematch with No. 17 Duke on Saturday in Chapel Hill’s Dean E. Smith Center. The game tips at 8:15 p.m. and can be seen on ESPN.

Duke beat UNC 86-78 on Feb. 9 in Durham. The Tar Heels were within three points in the last minute, but were outplayed and outshot by the Blue Devils down the stretch.

North Carolina can clinch the outright ACC regular season title with a win over Duke.

STATISTICALLY SPEAKING

While Carolina doesn’t have a single player who leads the ACC in a major category, the Heels lead the league in seven team categories.

UNC ranks first in scoring (85.0 points per game), rebounding (1,365 total and 44.0 per game) and assists (556 total and 17.9 per game). UNC is also tops in field-goals attempted (2,041) and field-goals made (961) but is fourth in field-goal percentage (.471) behind Virginia Tech, Florida State and Duke.

The only categories in which Carolina ranks in the lower half of the ACC are free-throw percentage, as the Heels’ .698 ties them with N.C. State for 10th, and blocks (12th with 3.39 per game and 105 total). UNC also is ninth in the ACC in 3-point shooting at 37 percent but seventh in 3-pointers made (228).

HEELS AT NFL COMBINE

Seven Tar Heels — quarterback Mitch Trubisky, running backs Elijah Hood and T.J. Logan, wide receivers Ryan Switzer, Bug Howard and Mack Hollins and defensive tackle Nazair Jones — will attend this week’s NFL Combine at Indianapolis’ Lucas Oil Field.

They will take part in medical testing, meetings, interviews, psychological testing, media, bench press and on-field workouts (timing, stations, skill drills). The on-field testing portion on the combine can be seen on the NFL Network.

The first group of players arrived Tuesday, while Hood and Logan will have their on-field workouts on Friday, March 3. Trubisky, Switzer, Howard, and Hollins will have their on-field workouts on Saturday, March 4, while Jones will work out Sunday.

Ross Martin covers North Carolina basketball, football and recruiting for 247Sports.com and CBS Sports. Check out more of his work at northcarolina.247sports.com.

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