North Carolina Rejects Harvard Late, 67-65
North Carolina almost gave the Harvard Crimson an Ivy League lesson in choking away a basketball game. North Carolina blew a 16-point lead in the second half, and looked like it would be heading back to Chapel Hill empty-handed. Instead, the Tar Heels found a way to survive, and as the old cliche goes, an ugly win is far better than a pretty loss.
Harvard took its first lead of the game with 1:17 to play after Siyani Chambers hit 3-pointer and a free throw after being fouled by Marcus Paige, 65-63. Justin Jackson then scored the next 4 points for North Carolina, including the go-ahead transition dunk(!), and the Tar Heels held on after a pair of missed 3-pointers by Chambers and Wesley Saunders to win 67-65.
Saunders led all scorers with 26 points, but Jackson has to be considered the player of the game by default. Jackson scored 14 points on an efficient 5-of-8 shooting, and at a time when it looked like the Tar Heels would crumble, the freshman shone, scoring 4 huge points to fight off a valiant Harvard run.
Simply put, this was an alarming game for North Carolina. The Heels turned the ball over 17 times, and committed 18 team fouls. This is something that Carolina absolutely cannot do in the postseason, as it gives opponents far more chances to get back into games if the Heels build a lead like they did early in the 2nd half.
North Carolina’s next game will be Saturday against the winner of #5 Arkansas/#12 Wofford, at a time to be determined.
Stats taken from ESPN