The return of Cole Anthony excited many that turned on their TV’s or made their way to the Smith Center to watch the Tar Heels take on Boston College looking to stretch their win streak to three. That excitement didn’t last long, as the Tar Heels returned to their prior form on the offensive end, leading to a disastrous loss to Jim Christian’s struggling Eagles capped by a Cole Anthony air-balled three on the final possession.
Anthony may not have had a perfect night, but he was able to almost single handedly kept the Tar Heels around in a game that Boston College had a hold of for most of the first 30 minutes. Anthony dropped 26 points, including 20 in the second half in his return to the lineup, including a phenomenal night from the line, where he finished 14-14. While the final possession was a confusing one, Anthony’s performance down the stretch made the decision to keep the ball in his hands the right one.
Anthony’s performance gave the Tar Heels a chance in a game where the guy who had been the dominant force in conference play struggled. Garrison Brooks may have finished the game with another double-double, but he was just 5-15 from the field. The biggest struggle for Brooks came at the free throw line, though, where he missed all seven of his free throw attempts, something that came back to cost the Tar Heels in the long run.
The loss drops the Tar Heels back below .500, as they now sit at 10-11 overall and 3-7 in the ACC. The Tar Heels road to tournament continues to get more and more difficult, as it would now appear that the Tar Heels will have to go 2-2 in their four remaining games against ranked. Along the way, they will likely have to win out against all of their unranked opponents, a stiff task with trips to Charlottesville and Syracuse still looming. Tonight’s was a huge nail in the coffin of this season and the Tar Heels will need to be nearly flawless to recover from it.
-After two of the best shooting games of the season, the Tar Heels shot just 36.1% from the field on Saturday evening. Not only did the overall struggles from the field return, so did the 3-point shooting, an area where they hit just 4 of their 19 attempts in the game.
-The Tar Heels ripped down 16 offensive rebounds, something that wasn’t entirely shocking with just how bad the Eagles had been on the glass this season. The issue for the Tar Heels is that those 16 offensive boards resulted in just nine second chance points. With a team that has struggled from the perimeter like the Tar Heels have this season, finishing those second chance opportunities is important.
-Brandon Robinson was on the end of a brutal foul call late in the game, one that resulted in him leaving the game with a right ankle injury. To add insult to injury, the replay clearly shows that Robinson did not make contact with Jared Hamilton, who hit two of his three free throw attempts to eventually win the game. The only bit of good news is that the x-ray’s came back negative, but it feels unlikely that he’ll play on Monday in Tallahassee against No. 5 Florida State.