IOWA CITY, Iowa – North Carolina No.16 eliminated a 16-point deficit midway through the second half, although the rally ran out as Iowa No.3 rebuilt their advantage at double digits at the end of Tuesday’s 93-80 loss.
The Tar Heels (3-2), who trailed in double digits in the first half for the third time in four games, opened the second half in a 14-5 set and ultimately took their first lead of the game at 66-65 with 9:52 to play. Iowa (4-0) responded with a 16-2 push in 2:42 to regain control at 83-70 with 6:34 remaining. The UNC couldn’t get more than seven points for the remainder of the time.
The Tar Heels shot 47.7% against 44.7% for Iowa, although the Hawkeyes connected on 17 of 40 three points. The 17 scored three points tied for most by a UNC opponent in the Roy Williams era (Auburn, 19).
Five Tar Heels scored in double digits, led by Garrison Brooks’ 17 points. Day’Ron Sharpe added 13 points and six rebounds, while RJ Davis scored 12 points and distributed eight assists. Iowa scored 23 points on 18 UNC turnovers and held a 21-14 advantage in second chance points. The Tar Heels overtook the Hawkeyes, 47-38, and clocked a 24-6 advantage at quick break points.
UNC fell to 7-22 when their opponent scored 90 points or more in the Williams era.
National Player of the Year candidate Luka Garza competed in the ACC-Big Ten challenge averaging 34 points on 76% shots and 9.7 rebounds per game. The UNC’s focus was to overtake the 6-foot-11 All-American whenever possible to limit his options and this particular plan worked. Garza finished with 16 points on 6 shots on 20 and 14 rebounds.
Three point bonanza
While UNC intended to overtake Garza early on, Iowa took advantage of inconsistent defensive rotations by reversing a slew of open looks from three points. The Hawkeyes scored 11 of 22 three-pointers in the first half alone – more treys than the Tar Heels had allowed in any of their first four games – and finished with 17 three-pointers in 40 attempts.
Jordan Bohannon did 7 of 16 long distance, while CJ Fredrick and Joe Wieskamp both did 5 of 7.
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ACC-Big Ten Challenge Record
UNC is now 10-12 in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge, which includes a 0-2 record against Iowa. The Tar Heels are 10-8 under Williams in the annual event and have lost three in a row.
The Hawkeyes were the 18th ranked opponent UNC has played in 22 ACC-Big Ten Challenge games.
Originally, the UNC had scheduled Elon to play at the Smith Center on Saturday, December 12, although that game was postponed due to COVID-19 issues in the Phoenix schedule. While it’s still possible that another game will be added for this weekend, the next game on the schedule is a clash with Ohio State No.22 in the CBS Sports Classic on December 19 (14 h / CBS).