Updated: Feb 11
This 2019-20 season for Carolina has been a living hell and that was reiterated once again on Saturday night in the most heartbreaking loss of the season. Up thirteen with four minutes to
go, the Tar Heels could not hold a furious Duke comeback, as a game they controlled for most of the way went in favor of the Blue Devils 98-96 in overtime.
The story of this game from a Carolina perspective will be just how many points they left on the free throw line. On a night where the Tar Heels stepped to the charity stripe 38 times, they would shoot just 55.3% from the line, leaving 17 points behind. Garrison Brooks struggles once again headlined the struggles at the free throw line, going 0-5 from the line on Saturday night. Brooks is now just 1-16 from the free throw line in his last three games, something that’s shocking considering he was having a solid season at the free throw line prior to this stretch.
Timely rebounding, which has been lacking in each of the last three losses, bit the Tar Heels once again on Saturday. The final shots of regulation and overtime came off of offensive rebounds by the Blue Devils at the free throw line, something that can’t happen in those situations. While this Tar Heels team is one of the nation's top overall rebounding teams, they are simply getting beat on the glass when it matters.
There were definitely other factors as to why the Tar Heels lost this phenomenal installment of the greatest rivalry in sports, but in a game that had a similar feel to the loss at Virginia Tech last month, this team had a chance to take care of business themselves and unfortunately didn’t.
-After two awful shooting games against Boston College and Florida State, the Tar Heels shot very well on Saturday night. The Tar Heels shot 52.2% from the field, including a much improved 9-13 on layups. The only area the Tar Heels had some struggles at was from three, where the team was just 3-12.
-Christian Keeling continued his strong play, pouring in 13 points on 5-7 shooting in 25 minutes. With Brandon Robinson missing two to four weeks with a sprained ankle, Keeling’s presence has been needed and he has stepped up.
-Leaky Black may have fouled out, but before he did, he put together one of the most complete performances of the season. Black scored eight points on 3-7 shooting, ripped down seven rebounds and dished out nine assists.