No. 6 Ohio State hands No. 7 North Carolina worst home loss since Matt Doherty era

Ohio State stifled UNC to 27.4 percent shooting from the floor in a dominant road win over a top 10 team. (Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Ohio State stifled UNC to 27.4 percent shooting from the floor in a dominant road win over a top 10 team. (Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

With three players leaving for the first round of the NBA draft last season, North Carolina lost a lot of talent from last year’s ACC regular season champion.

So far this season, a loaded freshman class hasn’t been able to fill the void as UNC has struggled to find the offensive firepower Roy Williams’ teams are known for.

Buckeyes roll in Chapel Hill

That was the case again on Wednesday as the No. 7 Tar Heels struggled to make shots in a 74-49 loss at home to No. 6 Ohio State in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.

The Buckeyes got a big game from sophomore guard Duane Washington and held the Tar Heels to 27.4 percent shooting from the floor to improve to 8-0. A UNC team that started the season with seven straight games with less than 80 points for the first time since 1950 — according to ESPN — added No. 8 to that list in dropping to 6-2. And it wasn’t even close.

Cold offensive start to season hits low point for UNC

The game was close at halftime before the Buckeyes extended a two-point lead to 14 points halfway through the second half, prompting Williams to pull his starters from the floor. An energized bench unit cut the UNC deficit to 56-45, but couldn’t break through a smothering Ohio State defense to get the lead to single digits.

When the Buckeyes extended the lead to more than 20 in the game’s final minutes, much of the home crowd headed for the exits.

It ended with the worst home loss for North Carolina since Williams returned to Chapel Hill.

UNC loses star freshman

UNC lost five-star freshman center Armando Bacot early in the first half with an ankle injury. But it’s unlikely his presence would have made much difference in a dominant Ohio State win.

Washington led the Buckeyes with 18 points while preseason All Big Ten honoree Kaleb Wesson tallied 10 points and nine rebounds.

Freshman point guard Cole Anthony — a projected lottery pick — paced UNC with 15 points and three assists. Like his teammates, he struggled from the field, hitting 4-of-15 shots. No other Tar Heel scored in double figures.

For Ohio State, it was an impressive road win against a top 10 opponent. For UNC, it was a reminder that Coby White, Cam Johnson and Nassir Little aren’t walking through the door — and that they’ll need to find some scoring quick to compete in the ACC.

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