It appears that the Tar Heels may be settling in for another long and frustrating season in the ACC. Despite getting off to a solid start for the first time in a game since the season opener against the College of Charleston and holding an eight point lead with 6:53 to go in the game, the Tar Heels could not find a way to put away the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, who used a 19-6 run down the stretch to pull out the victory 72-67. The loss drops the Tar Heels to 5-4 on the season, their worst start to a season since 2001-02 and 11-19 in their last 30 games.
This was one of the Tar Heels best shooting nights of the season, as they shot 44.6% from the field and 40.0% from deep, hitting a season-high eight three pointers. However, turnovers once again played a big role in the loss, as the Tar Heels turned the ball over 18 times in this one, leading to 19 points for the Yellow Jackets.
Failure to Contain Veteran Guards: This was a big problem for the Tar Heels in the loss to the Yellow Jackets last year and it was a big problem in the second half of this game as well. Guards Jose Alvarado and Michael Devoe both scored 20 points on the and combined to score 25 of the Yellow Jackets 42 second half points.
Kerwin Walton: The Tar Heels were able to extend their lead that eventually evaporated thanks to another strong showing from this young freshman. Walton hit all three of his field goals, all threes, in the second half and helped fuel that small run that stretched the lead to 61-53. Walton looked good in his first career start and with the Tar Heels still in search of consistent perimeter shooters, he may only see his role expand as the season continues.
Leaky Black: The struggling junior guard was one of three players that had started every game this season to come off the bench in this one and he had his best game of the season. Black scored 10 points on 5-7 shooting from the field, knocking down a couple of encouraging perimeter jumpshots and hitting a smooth floater right before halftime. It will be interesting to see what Roy does with these three guys going forward in terms of their role, but Black looks like a guy who might just be more effective coming off the bench like he did as a freshman.
Late Game Struggles: This is the second consecutive game where the Tar Heels were in position to win the game and were simply outplayed down the stretch. That, in large part, is due to the youth of this team, but if they want to be able to compete and win games in the ACC this season, they will simply have to find a way to make plays down the stretch.
Up Next: The Tar Heels will hit the road for the third straight game, as they head to Coral Gables to take on the Miami Hurricanes on Tuesday night at 8:00 PM on ESPN.