Tar Heels rally but fall to Syracuse 72-70

Tuesday, March 2, 2021
UNC coach Roy Williams saw his Tar Heels lose their final regular-season road game.
Gerry Broome-AP

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Buddy Boeheim scored 26 to become a 1,000-point career scorer and Syracuse breathed some life into its NCAA tournament hopes by holding on for a 72-70 win over North Carolina on Monday night.

The Orange were up 14 with 5:18 to play, 10 with less than two minutes to go and eight going into the final minute before it turned into a nail biter.

Twice in the last two minutes, the Tar Heels tapped out a missed free throw and hit a 3-pointer for a four-point possession. The second time, when RJ Davis hit a 3, North Carolina was within 70-66 with 42.9 seconds left.

A second late turnover by Syracuse led to a Caleb Love layup to make it 70-68 with 19 seconds left.

Joe Girard made 1 of 2 free throws for a three-point lead and the Orange fouled.

However, Love missed two free throws and Girard was fouled again. He again made 1 of 2 at 10.1 seconds for a 72-68 lead before the Tar Heels got a putback at the buzzer.

Quincy Guerrier added 18 points for Syracuse (14-8, 8-7 Atlantic Coast Conference), which had lost two straight. Leading scorer Alan Griffin (15.5 points) went 1 for 10, the make coming with 3:26 to play, but added two clutch free throws at 1:06.

Armando Bacot had 18 points and 15 rebounds for North Carolina (14-10, 9-6), which won the first meeting 81-75. Garrison Brooks scored 11 and Love 10. The Tar Heels were plus-20 in rebounding but had 20 turnovers, shot 38.2%, going 4 of 20 behind the arc, and were just 14 of 22 from the foul line.

Boeheim hit three 3-pointers during an 11-0 run to close the half for a 34-28 lead - the last 3 to reach 1,001 points for his career. Boeheim had five of his six 3s and 17 points before the break as the Orange went 7 of 17 from distance to the Tar Heels' 0 for 9.

Syracuse wraps up the regular season Wednesday at home against Clemson. North Carolina closes against visiting Duke on Saturday.