Berry, Heels hold off Syracuse for 6th straight

UNC’s Joel Berry came up with a steal and went coast to coast for a layup to break a tie and then sealed the 78-74 victory at Syracuse with a pair of free throws. (2/21) After having the lead for almost the entire game, Syracuse tied North Carolina with three minutes to go but the Tar Heels held the Orange scoreless the rest of the way with Berry providing the heroics. Berry had a chance to give Carolina the lead earlier on a set play but missed an open 3. “We answered some runs pretty good,” UNC coach Roy Williams […]

UNC’s Joel Berry came up with a steal and went coast to coast for a layup to break a tie and then sealed the 78-74 victory at Syracuse with a pair of free throws. (2/21)

After having the lead for almost the entire game, Syracuse tied North Carolina with three minutes to go but the Tar Heels held the Orange scoreless the rest of the way with Berry providing the heroics.

Berry had a chance to give Carolina the lead earlier on a set play but missed an open 3.

“We answered some runs pretty good,” UNC coach Roy Williams said. “Joel missed that three so I told him ‘how about make these free throws and let’s get out of town.'”

The Tar Heels, who led by 12 on several occasions in the first half, seemingly had the game under control after Theo Pinson, who had a career night, hit a three on the right side to put Carolina up 74-66 with less than five minutes left.

But Syracuse went on an 8-0 run, fueled by Tyus Battle’s six points, to tie it at 74 all setting up the exciting ending.

“We made some dumb plays late,” Coach Williams said. “We’ve got to take better care of the basketball and not take bad shots.”

Williams did say that overall the Tar Heels generally played well and shot the ball well in the first half, taking a 41-32 lead at the break.

Pinson had six assists in the first half. While he only dished out one assist in the second half, his offense took over as he scored 14 and ended the game with a career-high 23 points.

Berry added 18 and Sterling Manley, off the bench, chipped in 12 as the only other Tar Heels in double figures.

Carolina, now 22-7 and 11-5 in the Atlantic Coast Conference, has won six straight while Syracuse, which is fighting for an NCAA Tournament bid, fell to 18-10 overall and 7-8 in the league.

The Tar Heels get five days off before they host Miami Tuesday night on senior night where they’ll say goodbye to Theo Pinson and Joel Berry.

For a box score and more game analysis, please click here.