No. 1 stunned: North Carolina Northern Iowa

Published: November 22, 2015

No. 1 stunned: North Carolina Northern Iowa, North Carolina only scheduled a trip to Northern Iowa as a homecoming for Marcus Paige.

The Tar Heels could’ve used their senior star against the Panthers.

Wes Washpun scored 21 points and Northern Iowa stunned top-ranked North Carolina 71-67 on Saturday – just a week after losing to Colorado State at home.

The Panthers used a 29-8 stretch over 12 minutes of the second half to turn a 50-34 deficit into a 63-58 lead, and held on for the upset.

Northern Iowa also got 19 points from Matt Bohannon – whose 3-pointer with 2:51 left gave Northern Iowa the lead for good – and 14 points from Paul Jesperson.

Justin Jackson had 25 points for the Tar Heels (3-1).

Paige didn’t play because of a broken bone in his right hand. The Tar Heels missed him badly him, as Paige’s replacement, Joel Berry, had just five points on 2-of-7 shooting.

The Panthers (2-1) also beat the Tar Heels in the paint, 24-22, after Kennedy Meeks scored the first eight points for UNC.

Meeks finished with just 10 points, a total matched by Brice Johnson. The 6-foot-10 and 6-foot-9 forwards never established the inside game for UNC, and the Panthers were able to exploit that the rest of the way.

North Carolina appeared to be in control in the first half. But Washpun made a half-court 3 at the buzzer to pull the Panthers within 41-32, and Jeremy Morgan’s 3 cut it to 52-48.

Wyatt Lohaus gave Northern Iowa the lead with 9:21 left, and the Panthers were able to finish off one of the biggest upsets of the young season.

It was the biggest win for Northern Iowa since 2010, when it stunned top-seeded Kansas to reach the Sweet Sixteen.

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