Maybe the Gatorade bath was a bit much, Mike Young sheepishly admitted.
The Wofford coach even apologized for it after his team shocked No. 5 North Carolina, 79-75 on Wednesday night.
With his white dress shirt still soaking wet, and the cheers from the visiting locker room still audible, Young walked into the media room at the Smith Center slightly embarrassed by his team’s exuberance.
“They thought we won the Super Bowl,” Young said. “Maybe we did beating the Tar Heels.”
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The Terriers, a 25-point underdog, did wait until Young got into the locker room before they doused him. The celebration could barely be contained and understandably.
Junior guard Fletcher Magee scored a game-high 27 points to help the Terriers (8-4) pull off their first win over a top-25 team after 22 straight losses.
The loss snapped a 23-game home winning streak by UNC (10-2) and left coach Roy Williams fuming at his team’s effort.
“We got a big win on Sunday and we’re fat and happy and think things are just going to be be so easy for us,” Williams said.
They weren’t. Magee and junior forward Cameron Jackson (18 points, nine rebounds) never let it be easy.
Wofford led by as many as 14 points in the second half before guard Joel Berry (23 points) and forward Luke Maye (17 points, 14 rebounds) led a furious charge.
In the final 6 minutes, UNC missed four 3s which could have tied the game and twice in the final 4 minutes were within one point.
Each time Wofford came up with an answer. Guard Nathan Hoover hit a huge 3 with 3:43 left, after Cam Johnson — playing in his first game of the season for UNC — made a pair of free throws to cut Wofford’s lead to 70-69.
A pair of free throws by Maye, with 1:22 left, cut Wofford’s advantage to 73-72 but Young called a timeout after UNC set up a fullcourt press and was able to spring Magee loose for a layup off the ensuing set play.
Down 75-72, UNC hurried back down the floor and Berry tried to get to the basket for a quick 2-pointer. Jackson slid into Berry’s path and picked up a key charging foul with 1:03 left.
“It wasn’t just making shots,” Young said. “I thought we fought and were able to grind out some defensive possessions.”
Williams was clear in his frustration for his team but also in praise of Wofford’s effort.
“That team out-worked us,” Williams said.
It was a sloppy start for UNC, with six turnovers in the first 12 minutes and 14 for the game. Wofford had a 16 to 8 edge in points off turnovers, which irritated Williams.
The Carolina coach said he specifically talked with his team before the game about taking care of the ball.
“You can’t turn the dadgum basketball like we did to start the game,” Williams said.
Wofford took the lead with 48.1 seconds left in the first half, on a Magee layup, and never gave it back.
Magee, the country’s top 3-point shooter, went 10 of 23 from the floor and 4 of 12 from the 3-point line.
He came out firing in the second half and helped propel Wofford to a 57-43 lead at the 13:27 mark.
Johnson, who finished with 10 points in 17 minutes off the bench, helped UNC cut into Wofford’s margin.
Maye, who started 1 of 11 from the floor, made two big 3s during the second-half rally but couldn’t quite bring UNC all the way back.
It was UNC’s first home loss since a 74-73 decision to Duke on Feb. 17, 2016. It was only the 16th time, in 214 games, the Tar Heels had lost a home nonconference game.
Understandably, the Wofford celebration lingered until midnight in the hallways of the Smith Center. Magee posed in front of the mural honoring UNC’s 2017 national championship team.
“This is definitely a dream-come-true type win,” Magee said.
Joe Giglio: 919-829-8938, @jwgiglio