No. 23 Tar Heels Look to Recover From Tough Loss

Feb. 11, 2006

After an emotional loss to its bitter rival, North Carolina will try to avoid being swept by Miami when it visits the Hurricanes on Sunday in an ACC matchup.

The 23rd-ranked Tar Heels (14-6, 5-4) rallied from 17 points down against No. 2 Duke on Tuesday, but couldn't hold on to a five-point lead in the closing minutes as the visiting Blue Devils won 87-83.

The loss snapped a three-game winning streak for the youthful Tar Heels.

"It showed a lot for us," said freshman Tyler Hansbrough, who had 14 points and nine rebounds. "We were down 17, came back, made a big run and got right back in it. It shows what type of team we can be."

North Carolina had to rely on its bench to get back in the game after coach Roy Williams yanked his five starters off the floor following a series of poor possessions early in the second half. The bench players, known as the "Blue Team," responded with an 8-2 run before Williams reinserted his starting five.

"I was so mad at that group," said Williams, 2-1 against Miami in his career. "If we'd have lost by 5,000, it wouldn't have made a difference. That group (of reserves) was going to be in there a while. If you're going to play for us, you're going to compete.

"After that (substitution), I loved how our team competed. It would've been nice to have made another bucket or two."

Miami (14-9, 6-4) stunned North Carolina on Jan. 14 when it came into the Dean Smith Center and won 81-70. The Tar Heels had been 5-0 at home and 8-1 all-time against the Hurricanes.

Miami had its three-game winning streak snapped in an 86-77 double-overtime loss to North Carolina State on Wednesday. The Hurricanes rallied from a 15-point deficit to force overtime, but ran out of gas.

"Obviously we're disappointed," Miami coach Frank Haith said. "But we've got to get ourselves emotionally ready to come back. That's what this league is all about. This league is that good."

The Hurricanes, 2-5 against ranked teams, play at No. 17 Boston College and at No. 2 Duke in their next two games.



Miami, which gives up an ACC-low 62.5 points per contest, allowed a season high in points to the Wolfpack, who also shot 47.3 percent from the floor. Coming into the game, Miami was only allowing opponents to shoot 40.4 percent.

"We had them," said Guillermo Diaz, whose basket forced the first overtime. "Coming from behind, we had the momentum. But that last overtime, they made some plays and free throws."

With a victory, the Hurricanes would match their win total in conference play from last season, their first in the ACC.

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