In a stunning upset Wednesday night at the Dean Smith Center, junior guard Fletcher Magee led the Wofford Terriers past fifth-ranked UNC by a score of 79-75—snapping the Tar Heels’ 23-game home winning streak in the process.
The defending national champions entered the night favored by more than 25 points, but Magee—who leads the NCAA in three-point shooting and is second in the nation in scoring–and the Terriers had other ideas in mind.
Led by 27 points from its star player, Wofford (8-4) picked up its first victory over a ranked team in 24 tries all-time.
Using a slower, more methodical tempo than what the Tar Heels (10-2) prefer to play at, Wofford didn’t just sneak by for the victory, either.
The Terriers closed the first half on an 8-0 run on the way to a 34-33 halftime lead. From there, the visitors never trailed again—even extending the margin to as many as 14 points midway through the second half.
Any time Wofford needed a big shot to keep UNC away, Magee seemed to come through time and time again—even when he had a hand in his face.
In addition to Magee’s lights out shooting, forward Cameron Jackson added 18 points and Wofford outscored UNC in the paint 28-22. The Terriers also came up just four rebounds shy of tying the Tar Heels in a category they typically dominate.
According to an extremely frustrated Tar Heel head coach Roy Williams afterwards, only the late-night ending time—and NCAA rules which state that players must receive eight hours of rest after a game—prevented him from scheduling a 6 a.m. practice.
“We said, ‘Guys, he’s the leading three-point shooter in the nation, he’s gonna come after you,’” Williams told reporters after the game, about Magee. “And he did.
“But those are good shots for him,” the coach continued. “Kenny [Williams], I think, did a nice job on him [defensively]. But you can’t walk out there and think things are gonna be easy.”
Luke Maye and Joel Berry did everything they could to spark a late game rally for UNC—combining to score 20 consecutive points down the stretch for the Tar Heels—but it would not be enough to prevent the historic upset.
Maye’s potential game-tying three with 23 seconds left came up short, and Wofford was then able to ice the game at the foul line.
Berry ultimately finished with a team-high 23 points while Maye added 17 points and 14 rebounds. The two combined, however, to make just 11 of their 32 total shots.
After trailing for much of Sunday’s win over Tennessee before a late 9-0 run saved a win, the Tar Heels couldn’t quite find the same crunch-time magic on Wednesday.
“We gotta, by god, be ready to play,” Williams said, emphatically. “And not act like we’re primadonnas because we’re North Carolina, and we can walk out there and the other team is just gonna fold.
“That team outworked us,” he added. “You think about Sunday, we were very fortunate. What did they do when we pressed? They threw the ball to us twice. That team tonight didn’t help us. We didn’t make the plays.”
The Tar Heels will now travel to New Orleans for a game against Ohio State on Saturday, as part of the CBS Sports Classic. Tip-off for that game is set for 1:30 p.m.
- Prior to Wednesday, UNC’s last non-conference loss at home was on Dec. 3, 2014 against Iowa.
- Graduate transfer Cameron Johnson made his first in-game appearance as a Tar Heel after missing the first 11 games with a torn meniscus. In 17 minutes, Johnson totaled 10 points and three rebounds–with seven of his points coming via free throws.
- Wofford came into the game ranked 197th in the country by Ken Pomeroy, one of the sport’s top analysts.
- This marks Wofford’s second win over an ACC school this season, however, having defeated Georgia Tech earlier this season.
Cover photo via Todd Melet