CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Guard Mike Gesell scored on a three-point play with 1:16 remaining to break a tie, and Iowa upset No. 12 North Carolina 60-55 in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge on Wednesday night at the Smith Center.
After Gesell’s go-ahead play, North Carolina guard Marcus Paige was assessed an offensive foul with 50 seconds to go. The Tar Heels made a defensive stand, but Paige missed a potential tying 3-pointer with four seconds left.
Gesell added two free throws, and he finished with 16 points.
Center Adam Woodbury added 11 points and forward Aaron White had 10 for the Hawkeyes, who won for only the fourth time in 14 all-time ACC/Big Ten Challenge games.
North Carolina forward Kennedy Meeks fouled out with 1:57 remaining after scoring 15 points and grabbing 12 rebounds.
Paige scored 13 points for the Tar Heels in a game against his home-state team.
North Carolina (5-2) scored the first five points of the second half, leading for 16 seconds until the Hawkeyes (6-2) went back ahead.
The Tar Heels claimed the lead on foul-plagued forward Brice Johnson’s inside move at the 12:36 mark, and they stayed in front for more than six minutes.
Iowa was mired in 3-for-23 shooting to begin the second half. However, North Carolina’s misfiring offense allowed the Hawkeyes to stay within a basket, and Iowa tied the game on Woodbury’s jumper.
Gesell’s bucket with 5:16 to play put Iowa ahead at 51-50, setting up a frantic final five minutes.
Iowa led 31-29 at halftime, though North Carolina closed the half on a 10-4 run.
Gesell scored nine points as Iowa built a 24-16 lead. During the opening 13-minute stretch, North Carolina shot 7-for-29 (24.1 percent) from the field.
For Gesell, it was an offensive breakthrough after he scored a total of one point in the two previous games while playing 41 minutes.
The Tar Heels didn’t lead at halftime for the first time this season. They shot 11-for-41 (26.8 percent) from the field in the first 20 minutes.
NOTES: Iowa won two of the three previous meetings between the teams, who last met 10 seasons ago when the Hawkeyes won the title game of the Maui Invitational. … Iowa G Mike Gesell and C Adam Woodbury were teammates of North Carolina G Marcus Paige on Iowa-based AAU teams. … For Iowa coach Fran McCaffery, a former player at Wake Forest and later a coach at UNC Greensboro, it was a return to North Carolina. … The game was a “Turn It Green” event at the Smith Center to raise awareness on recycling, with thousands of green T-shirts worn by fans. … Iowa plays Saturday at home against Maryland-Baltimore County. … North Carolina’s next game is Sunday against visiting East Carolina.
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