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Canes Hoops: Miami drops OT thriller to UNC 88-85

Chris Lykes’ monster game not enough as the Canes fall to UNC for the second time this season.

NCAA Basketball: Miami-Florida at North Carolina Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

At points on Saturday afternoon, it appeared that the Canes were going to leave Chapel Hill victorious for the second-straight season, but North Carolina was able to come back late to force overtime before hitting a couple big shots in the extra period to survive a valiant effort by a short handed Miami squad.

Neither team led by more than 7 points at any point in a game that featured 14 lead-changes. Unlike most of their games in 2019, Miami was able to respond after a 2nd half run by UNC put the home team up 47-40 with 15 minutes to go. The last 10 minutes of regulation turned into a duel between Chris Lykes and the Tar Heels’ freshman guard Coby White. The two traded big shot after big shot, but in the final minute Lykes found Zach Johnson twice for mid-range jumpers that would put Miami up 77-74 with 21 seconds left. Unfortunately, Coby White was able to find an open Luke Maye for a game-tying 3 pointer with 11 seconds left. That would be the last point of regulation, as the teams were headed to overtime tied 77-77.

NCAA Basketball: Miami-Florida at North Carolina
Coby White was unstoppable late, putting the Tar Heels on his back when Miami tried to pull away.
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Despite looking deflated after giving up a late lead, Miami regrouped and was still able to hang with the Tar Heels in overtime. Back-to-back threes in the last minute by Chris Lykes and Zach Johnson put the Canes down 1 with 28 seconds to play, but UNC was able to successfully inbound the ball, forcing the Canes to foul Cameron Johnson with 12 seconds left. Johnson would hit both free throws, putting the Tar Heels up 88-85, which would end up being the final score as Miami was unable to get a shot off on their final possession.

NCAA Basketball: Miami-Florida at North Carolina
Zach Johnson hit a series of huge shots late despite dealing with an ankle injury.
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

This was a heartbreaking loss for the shorthanded Canes, who appeared to do everything they could to steal this game from Roy Williams and the 8th-ranked Tar Heels. Chris Lykes dropped 27 points and 4 assists in a masterful performance. Anthony Lawrence II carried the offense for much of the first half, and finished with 17 points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists. Dejan Vasiljevic had another solid performance with 11 points and 7 rebounds, and Zach Johnson gutted through an ankle injury sustained in yesterday’s practice to hit multiple clutch shots and pitch in 13 points off of the bench.

The Tar Heels were led by Coby White’s 33 points and 6 assists, while senior big man Luke Maye contributed 20 points and 6 rebounds of his own. UNC’s leading scorer coming in was Cameron Johnson, but the Canes held him in check for most of the game with Johnson only scoring 12 points.

Miami falls to 10-13 (2-9) on the season while UNC is now atop the conference with a 19-4 overall record (9-1 in conference). The Canes return to the court on Wednesday as Clemson comes to the Watsco Center with tip off scheduled for 7:00pm ET.