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11/17/2013 8:40 PM EST
Belmont stuns No. 12 North Carolina 83-80
BELMONT 83, NORTH CAROLINA 80

By AARON BEARD
AP Basketball Writer

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) -- J.J. Mann had rehearsed hitting a
game-winning shot so many times before. When the ball came his
way late against No. 12 North Carolina, the senior didn't
squander the chance to give Belmont a stunning road upset.

The senior hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with 13.1 seconds left,
helping the Bruins beat the Tar Heels 83-80 on Sunday in the
Hall of Fame Tipoff.

Mann finished with a career-best 28 points, with the last basket
giving the Bruins an 81-80 lead. Then, after a missed shot from
UNC's J.P. Tokoto, Caleb Chowbay scored on a breakaway layup
with 0.2 seconds left that sent Belmont players rushing onto the
court to celebrate at the horn.

"There aren't great victories unless you beat great programs,"
longtime Belmont coach Rick Byrd said. "... It's a big moment
right now for us."

Indeed, especially considering it appeared the Bruins (3-1)
would be left lamenting one that got away.

Belmont had frustrated North Carolina by playing with poise and
knocking down outside shots, leading by 11 points early in the
second half. Then the Tar Heels (2-1) rallied and led by eight
with 2 1/2 minutes left, only to see Mann and the Bruins push
back.

With the Bruins trailing by two in the final 20 seconds, Reece
Chamberlain brought the ball upcourt and flipped it to Mann, who
launched the straightaway shot over Tokoto.

He said he was "about 99 percent sure it was going in" before it
dropped through the net.

"It's something you dream about as a kid, and something that you
pretend this summer in the gym," Mann said. "You're saying, `All
right, game winner against North Carolina, here you go.' And
then it happens. It's just unbelievable."

Belmont is a consistently successful Ohio Valley Conference
program with six NCAA tournament trips in eight years. Now the
Bruins have their first win against a Top 25 opponent since
beating No. 23 Missouri in December 2003.

It was North Carolina's first nonconference home loss since
falling to Illinois in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge eight years
ago.

Drew Windler, who rebounded Tokoto's late miss and threw it
ahead for Chowbray's layup, said he had 28 congratulatory text
messages and countless other Twitter messages waiting by the
time he got on the team bus.

"It's a historical win for Belmont," Windler said. "We don't
have a lot of wins over AP Top 25 teams. So anytime you can go
into a Top 25 team's place, especially a place like North
Carolina - storied program - and do just enough to beat a good
team, that's great. That's something to hang your hats on."

Mann hit five 3-pointers and added nine rebounds to lead the
Bruins, who hit 15 of 37 3s to match their three-game season
total for made 3-pointers coming in.

Windler scored 16 points and hit four 3s of his own for the
Bruins, who shot 45 percent and hit 20 of 22 free throws.

The free throws were a big factor considering the Tar Heels -
playing yet again without leading scorer P.J. Hairston and
senior guard Leslie McDonald due to NCAA eligibility concerns -
couldn't make their own.

UNC shot 48 percent and scored 20 second-chance points, but
finished 22-for-48 (46 percent) from the foul line. That
included a woeful 9-for-28 in the first half as Belmont took a
41-34 lead at the break.

"I don't know," sophomore Brice Johnson said of the free-throw
struggles. "That hurt. We should've made free throws. ... Make
at least 10 of those we win the game. We just have to
concentrate, just take our time."

North Carolina erased the deficit with a 14-0 second-half run,
holding the Bruins to one field goal over a 10-minute span. But
after the Tar Heels had pushed ahead 73-65 on Marcus Paige's
driving basket with 3:46 left, Mann and the Bruins pushed back.

Mann knocked down a 3 to cut the deficit to 78-75 with 1:02
left, then followed with another 8 seconds later to cut the
deficit to 80-78.

The Tar Heels had a chance to make it a two-possession game
again, but Paige lost the ball on a dribble drive with 19.9
seconds left, leading to a jump ball that set up Mann's final
shot.

James Michael McAdoo scored a career-high 27 points and had 13
rebounds to lead the Tar Heels, while Paige finished with 17
points.

"(Byrd) is a good friend and a really good coach, and I'm happy
for him," UNC coach Roy Williams said. "But I love those kids in
my locker room and their coach let them down today. That's about
it."

---

Follow Aaron Beard on Twitter at
http://www.twitter.com/aaronbeardap

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