The game began with high energy on both ends. The scoreboard at halftime read University of North Carolina Tar Heels, and Miami Hurricanes tied at 37.
Only one team was able to keep the energy consistent on their end.
The No. 13-ranked Tar Heels led by Cameron Johnson won 85-76 over the short-handed Hurricanes 85-76 on Saturday.
“It wasn’t like, `Shoot over Lykes. Hey, he’s short,” Johnson said. “But when you’re in the moment, and you’ve got a clear view of the basket, it’s a pretty nice opportunity for you. It’s hard for him to get up there and contest.”
Johnson was hot from three-point land finishing 5-7 from beyond the arc. Johnson connected on back-to-back 3-pointers, teammate Kenny Williams added a pair of 3-pointers, giving the Tar Heels four threes in a span of five possessions.
“They’re good players,” Chris Lykes said. “They’ve got the ability to shoot. They hit a few.”
The University of North Carolina, if you did not guess is the team who kept the energy consistent in the second half. At a high energy level to say the least.
The Tar Heels (14-4, 4-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) shot 55 percent, including 9 for 20 from three-point land. They made at least half their shots for the first time in eight games.
“Did they miss a shot in the second half? I don’t remember if they did,” Miami coach Jim Larranaga said. “That was a terrific performance by North Carolina and a valiant effort by our guys.”
The Hurricanes hosted a Tar Heels team with continued questions on their roster. Miami junior forward Dewan Hernandez again sat out. He has yet to play this season because of an eligibility issue, and the Hurricanes had hoped for a final ruling this week.
Miami remained winless in three games against ranked teams this season. Lykes led Miami with 20 points and six assists.
“UNC executed their game plan well,” Lykes said. “They made things tough.”
The Hurricanes (9-8, 1-4) with fewer than 32 seconds to play, coach Larranaga called a timeout and was not aware he did not have any more to use. It led to two made technical free throws for the Tar Heels.
“At that point, we had forgotten we did not have a time out,” Larranaga said. “I wanted to do something offensively strategically. It cost us two points, and I was hoping we can get that back.”
There were 18 lead changes, but the last came with 17 minutes to go.