CEDAR FALLS, Iowa – Northern Iowa was supposed to be in a rebuilding year.
An upset win over the nation's top-ranked team has certainly changed the narrative.
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.
"They had to play their tails off in that second half. The game was just about over with 15 minutes left and our guys hung in there and made a couple shots," Northern Iowa coach Ben Jacobson said. "That last 10 minutes, I couldn't ask any more from our guys."
Northern Iowa (2-1) also got 19 points from Matt Bohannon — whose three-pointer with 2:51 left gave Northern Iowa the lead for good.
Justin Jackson had 25 points for the Tar Heels (3-1), who didn't force a single turnover in the second half.
North Carolina star Marcus Paige, who grew up in nearby Marion, Iowa, didn't play in what was supposed to be a homecoming game because of a broken bone in his right hand.
The Tar Heels missed him badly, as Paige's replacement, Joel Berry, had just five points.
"I told [Jacobson] I felt great for him and his squad. Very disappointed in me, more so than my team," North Carolina coach Roy Williams said. "We acted like a team that had not been coached very well."