“We do it to ourselves.”
A player said those words to me shortly after Wednesday’s loss to Gardner-Webb in the “Mayan Division” Championship at the Cancun Challenge. The Bears trailed by as many 23 inside of 16 minutes to play before falling by five, 67-62. A 25-percent shooting effort in the first half became too much of a hiccup to overcome, and the Bears finished their two games in Cancun with a split instead of leaving with hardware.
It left coach Jeff Linder again reverting to one word to describe his team: “Resilient”.
While the game reached 23 in Gardner-Webb’s favor, the Bears did mount a heck of a comeback, going as far as holding the Bulldogs to just three field goals over the final 8:30. Trent Harris hit a trey with 25 seconds left to bring the Bears to within one at 63-62, but that would be it.
All told in the games tied to the Challenge, UNC trailed by 16, 17 and 23 in their four losses. Getting off to slow starts is an area that UNC has to correct in the final four games that remain before the Big Sky season begins December 28.
Next up: Northern New Mexico, Wed, 12/4 at Bank of Colorado Arena
Post-game interview with HC Jeff Linder: