Wofford men’s basketball team stuns No. 5 North Carolina Tar Heels, 79-75
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Wofford coach Mike Young walked into his postgame news conference wearing a soaked dress shirt and sheepishly drying himself with a towel.
“Pardon my appearance,” Young said, “a little over-exuberance from my team.”
It’s OK, coach. Beating fifth-ranked and reigning national champ North Carolina — on the road, no less — deserves a hearty celebration.
Fletcher Magee scored 27 points to help the Terriers stun the Tar Heels 79-75 on Wednesday night, snapping UNC’s 23-game home winning streak.
The Terriers (8-4) led the entire second half and by as many as 14 points before holding off UNC’s late-game run for their first win over a ranked team in 23 games.
The Terriers closed it out with four straight free throws in the final 15.2 seconds to seal it, then mobbed each other at midcourt as the horn sounded and the Tar Heels (10-2) headed to the tunnel.
It was in the locker room, Young said, that his team dumped a cooler on him as part of a celebration that left him a bit embarrassed as he pointed out it was only one regular-season win.
And yet, Young also understood: what a win it was for a team picked to finish sixth in the Southern Conference.
“I grew up in Virginia,” he said. “This was my team, Coach Smith, and you see all those banners … and I can think back to (John) Kuester and (Walter) Davis and (Phil) Ford, all those guys.
“And to bring a team in here and not only compete and fight and do some really good things — but win — holy cow, that’s a mouthful.”
The Tar Heels got within a point twice and missed four 3-pointers for the tie in the final 6 minutes. But they never could overtake the Terriers, who played confidently and kept counter-punching.
“We’ve got to by God be ready to play and not act like we’re prima donnas, (that) we’ve got North Carolina (on their jersey) and we can walk out there and the other team is going to fold,” UNC coach Roy Williams said. “That team outworked us.”
Joel Berry II scored 23 points to lead UNC, which suffered its first home loss to an unranked team while ranked in the top five since falling to Boston College in January 2009.