CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Ja’Quan Newton, a product of Neumann-Goretti, 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 three 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.
MIAMI UPSETS THE HEELS!
The Hurricanes snap No. 9 North Carolina's six-game win streak to get a huge win in Chapel Hill. pic.twitter.com/EJCt1V1XaN
— ESPN (@espn) February 28, 2018
“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. He did to North Carolina exactly what Villanova did two years ago, albeit with less than a national championship hanging in the balance.
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.
North Carolina: 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.
North Carolina: The Tar Heels close with a trip to fifth-ranked rival Duke on Saturday night.