North Carolina bubble watch: Tar Heels hold off late FSU run in must-win game
North Carolina extended its winning streak to 3, emerging victorious in a must-win game. The Tar Heels went to Tallahassee and defeated Florida State 77-66. It was about as stressful as a double-digit win can be.
FSU never led, but the Seminoles had UNC fans sweating in the second half. At the 6:24 mark, a Leaky Black 3-pointer put the Tar Heels up 62-46. The Noles went on a run, getting it down to 64-60 with 2:45 to go. On Saturday, FSU came back from 25 down to stun Miami 85-84 with a buzzer-beater.
The Tar Heels, though, weathered the storm, getting it back to 70-62 with 51 seconds left. Pete Nance hit 6 free throws in the final 25 seconds to bring his total to 15 points and make it a 77-66 game.
𝐇𝐄𝐄𝐋𝐒 𝐖𝐈𝐍.#CarolinaFamily | @WellsFargo pic.twitter.com/LKwm4QgbsH
— Carolina Basketball (@UNC_Basketball) February 28, 2023
All about the bubble
FSU is having a miserable 2022-23 season, falling to 9-21 with the loss. There’s no resume boost in beating the Noles, but for UNC, this was truly a must-win game. Monday afternoon before tipoff, ESPN’s Joe Lunardi described the meeting as “A classic ‘only can hurt’ game for the Tar Heels who can’t play their way into the field at FSU but could suffer a very damaging loss.”
The damaging loss was successfully avoided. There’s one game left, and it’s a big one, in the regular season and then it’s on to the ACC basketball tournament to try to leave no doubt about being worthy of an NCAA Tournament berth.