CHAPEL HILL, N.C. —
The Tar Heels (2-1) had rallied from 11 down in the second half to lead by eight with about 4 minutes left before Belmont’s comeback.
“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.”
Mann hit five 3-pointers and added nine rebounds to lead the Bruins, who hit 15 of 37 3s.
“I was about 99 percent sure it was going in,” Mann said of his go-ahead shot.
Drew Windler scored 16 points and hit four 3s of his own for the Bruins, who shot 45 percent and managed to steal back a game that looked to be slipping away late.
North Carolina ran off 14 straight points to go ahead in the second half and extended its perimeter pressure on Belmont’s outside shooters, 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 at the 1-minute mark, then followed with another less than 10 seconds later that pulled Belmont to within 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, who again played without leading scorer P.J. Hairston and senior guard Leslie McDonald due to NCAA eligibility concerns. Paige finished with 17 points.
Breaking news, severe weather alerts, AMBER alerts, sports scores from The Norman Transcript are available as text messages right to your phone or mobile device. You decide which type of alerts you want to receive. Find out more or to signup, click here.