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'Canes Fade Down Stretch, Fall to Tar Heels 73-64

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Under an Ash-grey sky with storm clouds gathering overhead, would the 'Canes put a stamp on a tumultuous season, or would they be potentially Chased out of the NCAA tournament picture by the North Carolina Tar Heels?

Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

Early on, Tonye Jekri and Manu Lecomte started off the scoring for the 'Canes while Brice Johnson, Kennedy Meek, Marcus Paige, and Justin Jacks led the way for the Tar Heels as they opened up an early lead with incredibly efficient shooting.

The 'Canes struggled early without Angel Rodriguez who wasn't starting due to a sprained wrist, but Coach Larranaga didn't hesitate to bring him into the game as North Carolina jumped out to an early 12-4 lead. Rodriguez found Sheldon McClellan for a corner three and Ja'Quan Newton found Omar Sherman for a two-handed stuff and the 'Canes were down four, 15-11.

Ivan Cruz Uceda nailed a three to keep the 'Canes close, but UNC as on fire early from everywhere. Miami inched even closer when Lecomte took a long rebound and found McClellan for a fast-break dunk that fired up the crowd.

Davon Reed destroyed UNC's defense with a nasty crossover and he got tot he rim for an and-1 (missed the FT) to bring the 'Canes within 1 point.

UNC would regain some precious momentum, but the 'Canes hung right there with them, heading into the locker room down 32-30 with another half to play.

The Tar Heels came out firing and scored the first 6 points of the second half, leading to a quick time out by Coach Larranaga. After the pause, the 'Canes continued to appear sluggish until Lecomte was fouled on a 3-pt attempt and nailed all three of his FTs. Lecomte wasn't done. The sophomore from Belgium drilled a 3 and brought the 'Canes within two. But UNC was deadly, especially from mid-range and closer. Johnson, AKA the Thin Man Part 2, was on fire for the Tar Heels, converting on an assortment of mid-range jumpers and dunks.

Cruz Uceda drilled a nasty three of a nice look from Lecomte and the Miami crowd really got into it. ICU rewarded the crowd's energy by nailing yet another 3-ball from the corner and the BUC was roaring as Miami took a 48-47 lead!

UNC rallied back to take a big 55-50 lead with 6:32 to go. Coach Larranaga called a time-out in order to rally his squad for the final stretch

Newton stole the ball and went coast-to-coast for a dunk, but the ball continued to bounce UNC's way. After a good 'Canes defensive possession, a loose ball rolled right to Johnson who had another easy dunk.

It seemed to take the wind out of the 'Canes sails, and with just 3:33 to play, Miami trailed 61-54. In order to secure a huge win, Miami would need someone to step-up down the final stretch. It wasn't meant to be.

Miami went ice-cold down the stretch and with 1:52 left to play, 'Canes fans streamed toward the exits.

North Carolina Tar Heels
STARTERS FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF PTS
Kennedy Meeks, F 2-5 0-0 0-0 1 4 5 1 0 1 3 1 4
Brice Johnson, F 11-15 0-0 0-1 3 8 11 2 2 0 0 1 22
J.P. Tokoto, F 3-10 0-1 4-6 3 7 10 6 4 0 4 1 10
Justin Jackson, F 2-5 1-2 6-8 1 3 4 0 0 1 1 2 11
Marcus Paige, G 5-12 3-6 4-4 0 1 1 2 1 0 1 4 17
BENCH FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF PTS
Isaiah Hicks, F 0-3 0-0 0-0 0 2 2 0 0 0 2 2 0
Joel James, F 2-5 0-0 2-2 0 3 3 1 0 0 0 3 6
Joel Berry II, G 1-2 1-2 0-0 0 1 1 3 0 0 1 0 3
Nate Britt, G 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 1 0
TOTALS FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF PTS
26-58 5-11 16-21 11 31 42 16 7 2 15 15 73
44.8% 45.5% 76.2%
Miami (FL) Hurricanes
STARTERS FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF PTS
Tonye Jekiri, C 2-6 0-0 2-4 2 6 8 0 0 3 1 2 6
Joe Thomas, F 1-1 0-0 0-0 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 2 2
Sheldon McClellan, G 4-10 2-6 1-2 0 1 1 0 1 0 2 4 11
Davon Reed, G 1-8 0-4 0-1 0 3 3 2 0 0 1 2 2
Manu Lecomte, G 3-9 1-2 3-3 0 3 3 4 1 0 3 2 10
BENCH FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF PTS
Omar Sherman, F 2-4 0-1 2-3 1 0 1 0 1 1 0 0 6
Ivan Cruz Uceda, F 3-8 3-8 2-2 1 1 2 0 1 0 0 1 11
Deandre Burnett, G 3-5 0-2 0-0 0 1 1 0 0 0 1 2 6
Angel Rodriguez, G 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 1 0 0 2 1 0
Ja'Quan Newton, G 5-6 0-1 0-0 0 1 1 4 1 0 3 3 10
TOTALS FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF PTS
24-57 6-24 10-15 7 22 29 11 5 4 13 19 64
42.1% 25.0% 66.7%

Technical Fouls: PLAYERS: None - TEAMS: None