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North Carolina fans had horror flashbacks on Tuesday night when Miami senior Ja’Quan Newton hit a deep buzzer-beating 3 to upset the No. 9 Tar Heels 91-88 on UNC’s Senior Night.
Given that UNC senior Joel Berry cashed a 3-pointer to tie it seconds before, the final sequence was reminiscent of UNC’s loss in the 2016 title game to Villanova.
With no timeout stoppages involved, the final few seconds in Chapel Hill were a pendulum swing of emotions. UNC fans burst with joy after Berry tied the game with 4.1 seconds to go. And then Newton — who may have traveled on the play– hit the winner on a high-arcing prayer.
MIAMI UPSETS THE HEELS!The Hurricanes snap No. 9 North Carolina’s six-game win streak to get a huge win in Chapel Hill. pic.twitter.com/EJCt1V1XaN
— ESPN (@espn) February 28, 2018
Everybody else ready for March after that?
Watch that again and check the official who rules the 3-pointer good. He’s emphatic, and he almost gets caught up in Miami’s flee to an on-floor celebration.
The victory effectively locks up Miami (21-8, 10-7 ACC) for an NCAA Tournament bid. The Hurricanes were a No. 8 seed and on the bubble entering the night in Jerry Palm’s Bracketology. With a road win at UNC, Miami could bump to the No. 7 line, and in doing so, gives itself plenty of room for error the rest of the way.
Miami’s also turned its fortunes in the past few days. On Saturday, Miami barely won at home over Boston College, only doing so after freshman Lonnie Walker hit a 3-pointer with 2.3 seconds remaining. Had the Canes lost that game and gone on to lose in OT to UNC, they’d instead be 19-10 and very much flirting with being in the last-four-in category.
Instead, Jim Larranaga’s team is booming into March. Newton finished with 21 points.
For North Carolina (22-8, 11-6), check this quote from Berry, who had a game-high 31 points in his final game at the Dean Dome.
Sadly true. Even the spots on the floor where Berry hit his 3-pointer and Newton returned the favor are fairly close to Marcus Paige’s tying triple and Kris Jenkins’ winner from the 2016 national championship game.
UNC’s loss was its first and only defeat of February. On Saturday, the Heels head over to Durham, North Carolina to take on Duke in their regular-season finale.