Jae’Lyn Withers’ shot was the coup de grâce in UNC’s Big Dance exit

There were too many things to count that went wrong for UNC in Thursday’s Sweet 16 loss to Alabama.

Hardly anyone shot well, highlighted by RJ Davis‘ 4-for-20 night and Armando Bacot’s missed, wide-open dunk. Hubert Davis made a questionable decision to sit Seth Trimble most of the second half, when North Carolina really needed its best defender against the nation’s top-scoring team.

The most head-scratching decision, however, came when the Tar Heels had a 1-point lead with one minute to go in the game. RJ kicked the ball out to a wide-open Jae’Lyn Withers beyond the 3-point line. Withers isn’t necessarily the guy UNC wants shooting this big shot, but he was so wide open.

A make would’ve sent the North Carolina bench into jubilation, but the latter happened.

Moments later, hearts were broken across the Tar Heel State when Grant Nelson scored Alabama’s final five points.

“I work on that shot every day so I don’t think it’s a bad shot,” Withers told Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Eisenberg after the game. “But with time and score, I could have tried to get to the free throw line or get to the basket and get an easier look for me.”

I agree with Withers – it was a great shot. If I were that wide open, I would’ve taken the same shot. Even if there were three minutes left in the game, I would’ve given Withers the green light.

Withers, however, is not the guy you want shooting 3-pointers. As Eisenberg pointed out earlier in his article, Withers had only taken 19 perimeter shots all year – and made just four of them.

He owned up to his decision, though, which is exactly what you want to see from a veteran presence.

“That was probably one of the most crucial plays of the game,” Withers said.

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Story originally appeared on Tarheels Wire