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Off the cuff: Not sure if we learned anything about the Tar Heels in their lost to UConn but we did learn that the Huskies are a hard team to like.

From Dan Hurley taking a page from the book of Bobby by exorting the crowd to cheer (when the game was in hand) to Cam "Chatty Cathy" Spencer bragging about his shots to the defender, UConn is not likeable.

Spencer did get a technical on the heels of Bacot wrongly getting a technical for celebrating a dunk. He wasn't directing his celebration at anyone in particular like Spencer always did.

They are a good team and a deep team - or at least they have several players who can score. And they can either play inside or outside. It was mostly outside in this game as the guards killed Carolina.

UNC guard RJ Davis hurt UConn but ultimately didn't kill them. He has become the most consistent Tar Heel. Seems he's always the top scorer. Depending on the opponent, it would be good for an inside guy like Bacot or a swing guy like Ingram to be the top scorer.

Bacot keeps racking up double-doubles but he should have had more than 13 points. He hit just 33 percent of his field goals and he missed five of 10 free throws. That's a lot of points left on the table. He should hit 60 percent from the floor and at least 75 percent from the free throw line. That would have been about eight more points - enough to make this a one-possession game.

Also, with a third of the season done, Cormac Ryan is going to have to go on quite a three-point run to simply get his stats in the average category. He missed all six of his three-point shots in this game and he's only 12 of 47 for the season - just over 25 percent. Anything under about 33 percent is a liability. He's also just 12 of 26 from inside the arc. Certainly no Brady Manek.

All this being said, Carolina had its chances to win this game and the flashes of brilliance still leave Coach Davis encouraged for the future.

"I'm encouraged about what this team can be and where it can go," Coach Davis said. "I'm excited about what we can become."

UConn 87, Carolina 76
Heels can't stop Huskies, can't shoot

(Photo by UNC Sports Information)

In an emotional, hard-fought top 10 matchup, No. 9 North Carolina couldn't keep up with No. 5 Connecticut offensively or defensively in an 87-76 loss at Madison Square Garden in New York as part of the Jimmy V Classic. (12/5)

It was a close game throughout the first half, with the Tar Heels down by five at half, and Carolina scored the first bucket of the second half to close within three.

But the Huskies reeled off four threes without a miss over the next three minutes to get up by 13 at 58-45 and Carolina switched to catch-up mode.

Pressure defense combined with several buckets by UNC's RJ Davis cut the deficit to five and later six points.

"We sped them up and took them out of rhythm and it was a five-point game," UNC coach Hubert Davis said. "Then we had three wide-open shots and they didn't go down."

The Heels could get no closer as they missed nine of 10 shots while UConn increased the lead to as many as 17 points.

Coach Davis pointed to the Huskies' 11-rebound edge as a big difference. "Before the game I told our guys that the No. 1 determining factor is rebounding," he said. "It took away possessions for us and kept us out of transition."

Another difference came at the free throw line where Carolina was a mere 13 of 22, easily the Tar Heels worst performance from the line this season.

RJ Davis had another good outing leading all scorers with 26 points, hitting all six of his free throws and canning four of eight threes. Harrison Ingram scored 20 and dished out five assists while Armando Bacot was the only other Tar Heel in double figures with 13 points and 13 rebounds.

Cormac Ryan, brought in to be a three-point artist, was zero of six from beyond the three-point line as the Heels were outshot from the field 51.5 percent to 44.4 percent.

Cam Spencer led four Huskies in double figures with 23 points, 16 of them coming in the first half. UConn moves to 8-1 with its only loss against Kansas.

The Tar Heels, now 7-2, don't play for 11 days when they meet Kentucky in a CBS tournament in Atlanta on Saturday, Dec. 16 at 5:30 p.m.

Box score

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