No. 3 Tar Heels mystified by flat performance in 76-67 loss

Western Carolina’s Elijah Pughsley tries to drive past Marquette’s Andrew Rowsey during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) Roy Williams thought Assembly Hall put on a perfect show Wednesday night.

Fans roared when Cubs outfielder and former Hoosiers star Kyle Schwarber was introduced as honorary game captain. They made Chicago Blackhawks national anthem singer and Indiana alum James Cornelison feel right at home by cheering through his performance of the song. The fans stayed on their feet most of the night and did whatever they could to keep the Hoosiers on track for their fifth straight home win against a top three team.

Then there was the curious case of Williams’ Tar Heels.

Seven days after returning from a four-game Hawaiian road trip, one on which they trailed for a combined total of 16 seconds, No. 3 North Carolina never led and spent most of the game trying to fight its way out of a double-digit deficit before finally losing 76-67 to No. 13 Indiana.

Williams was understandably unhappy.

”We were not ready to play,” he said. ”We did not shoot free throws, we didn’t rebound the basketball, we didn’t get the loose balls, At the half, they had more second-chance points – they had five or six fast-break points – and we had none. Everything, everything (went wrong).”