Believe it: Wofford stuns No. 5 North Carolina
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — All it took was Wofford believing.
That combined with some clutch second-half shooting were main ingredients for the Terriers in their stunning 79-75 victory against No. 5 North Carolina on Wednesday night at the Smith Center.
“A big part of it is coming here and seeing all these banners and all the history, you’d better believe you can compete,” Wofford coach Mike Young said.
The Terriers showed that, with Fletcher Magee pouring in 27 points to help Wofford defeat a ranked team for the first time.
The outcome ended Wofford’s 0-23 mark all-time against ranked opponents.
“Just the heart my team showed,” Young said. “This is a terrific win over a storied program, but we’ve got a lot to look forward to.”
Cameron Jackson added 18 points for the Terriers (8-4).
Tar Heels coach Roy Williams was livid, calling his team prima donnas.
“We got fat and happy,” Williams said. “We came off a big win Sunday (at No. 20 Tennessee) all fat and happy. You can’t walk out there and act like things are going to be easy.”
Wofford knocked off an ACC team for the second time this month, also defeating Georgia Tech. This one increased its winning streak to five games.
“We had a lot of great performances from a lot of people, needless to say,” Young said.
North Carolina’s streak of 22 consecutive non-conference home victories came to an end.
Joel Berry tallied 23 points, Luke Maye had 17 points and Garrison Brooks and Cameron Johnson each had 10 points for North Carolina (10-2), which had a five-game winning string snapped as it shot 36.4 percent from the field.
Maye, who had 14 rebounds, was 2-for-13 from the field until making two of his final three attempts.
Even a spirited comeback wasn’t enough to overcome what Williams viewed as a game-long problem.
“We’ve got to come out ready,” Williams said. “I didn’t think we came out with the passion we had to have. That team outworked us.”
The Terriers took a 57-43 lead with about 13 1/2 minutes remaining, making nine of their first 13 attempts from the field in the second half. Wofford didn’t have a turnover across the first 11 minutes of the second half.
But foul trouble started to wear down the Terriers as the Tar Heels climbed back.
North Carolina was within 70-69 when Wofford’s Nathan Hoover drained a 3-pointer at the 3:48 mark.
Wofford’s lead was cut to 73-72 after two Maye free throws with 1:22 to play. Magee scored on a layup after the Terriers broke the press.
A charging call on Berry came before a shot-clock violation on Wofford gave the Tar Heels the ball back with 32 seconds to play, but Maye missed a 3-pointer from the wing coming out of a timeout.
Wofford’s Trevor Stumpe made both ends of a 1-and-1 with 15.2 seconds left before Berry missed a 3.
The game marked the North Carolina debut of Johnson, a junior who’s in his first season as a graduate transfer from Pittsburgh. He missed the opener with a neck injury and the suffered a torn meniscus Nov. 13 in practice.
Wofford burst out to an 11-5 lead, then had a stretch when the Tar Heels appeared to take control.
But North Carolina went scoreless in the final 3:40 of the first half, with the Terriers scoring the last eight points before the break for a 34-33 lead.
Magee has reached the 20-point mark in six consecutive games, including 36 against Georgia Tech.
NOTES: North Carolina senior G Joel Berry moved alone into seventh place on the school’s career 3-point chart with 200 after making three from long range. He entered the game tied with current assistant coach Hubert Davis. ... North Carolina had won the previous meetings against Wofford, though the teams have met only twice since 1926. The other recent matchup came two years ago. ... North Carolina is back in action Saturday afternoon, when it takes on Ohio State in New Orleans. ... Wofford is off until opening Southern Conference play Dec. 30 at UNC Greensboro. That will be the Terriers’ third game in a row in the state of North Carolina.