Miami buzzer-beater stuns Tar Heels, 91-88
By Aaron Beard
AP Basketball Writer
CHAPEL HILL (AP) — Ja’Quan Newton hit a running 30-footer at the horn to help Miami upset No. 9 North Carolina 91-88 in a wild finish Tuesday night.
Newton’s heave off his left foot came immediately after UNC’s Joel Berry II hit a tough 3 of his own to tie the game with 4.1 seconds left. Miami pushed the ball upcourt for Newton’s shot over Berry, then the Hurricanes immediately mobbed Newton near midcourt.
“When I was guarding Joel, he came down and hit a great shot,” Newton said. “Soon as he hit the shot, I came around and I wanted the ball. … I got it. I looked at the clock when I was dribbling upcourt and it said 3 seconds left.
“I was just like: ‘I’ve got to shoot it.’”
Officials quickly determined the shot came in time.
Miami coach Jim Larranaga said he considered calling a timeout before the Hurricanes inbounded the ball. And as Larranaga gave his postgame comments, Newton stared at a nearby wall-mounted TV replaying his remarkable shot.
Larranaga said the final play ended up being simply: “Ja’Quan, score so we can win this game.”
It capped a game that saw Miami (21-8, 10-7 Atlantic Coast Conference) squander a 16-point second-half lead, only to come up with a huge win with the ACC Tournament just a week away.
Chris Lykes scored 18 points to lead Miami, which shot 55 percent.
Berry matched his career high with 31 points for the Tar Heels (22-8, 11-6), who lost their final home game to snap a six-game winning streak.
Miami: The Hurricanes had won their past two games by a combined four points, including a comeback from 14 down to beat Boston College on a last-second 3-pointer on Saturday to reach their sixth 20-win season in seven seasons under Jim Larranaga. This one fit right in with those — and truthfully topped them.
UNC: The Tar Heels entered this one trying to close out a perfect February, which included emotional rivalry wins against Duke and North Carolina State as well as road wins at Louisville and Syracuse. But they struggled for stops on a night when they shot 54 percent, and they also went just 13 for 20 at the line — including two to tie it in the final minutes before Berry’s final basket.
Miami: The Hurricanes host Virginia Tech in Saturday’s regular-season finale.
UNC: The Tar Heels close with a trip to fifth-ranked rival Duke on Saturday night.
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