CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Zachery Peacock made the go-ahead shot with 25.7 seconds left to rescue No. 20 Georgia Tech, which blew a 20-point first-half lead before holding on to beat No. 12 North Carolina 73-71 on Saturday.
Iman Shumpert finished with a career-high 30 points to lead the Yellow Jackets (13-4, 2-2 Atlantic Coast Conference), who figured out a way to pull out a win after falling behind in the wild final minutes.
Peacock managed just six points, but his shot in the lane that rolled around the rim before dropping through ended up being the biggest play of Georgia Tech's first win in Chapel Hill since 1996.
Will Graves had 22 of his career-high 24 points in the second half to lead the Tar Heels (12-6, 1-2), but he missed a desperation 3-pointer at the final buzzer for the win.
The Tar Heels were coming off an 83-64 loss at Clemson on Wednesday night, the most lopsided defeat for the Tar Heels in seven seasons under coach Roy Williams.
That same night, the Yellow Jackets lost 82-75 at Virginia, a team picked to finish near the bottom of the league.
It was nearly a disastrous loss for the Yellow Jackets, who ran out to a 29-9 lead and led by 16 points with about 12 minutes to play. They fell behind for the first time in the second half on a 3-pointer by Graves with 4:30 left and trailed 71-70 on a short hook shot from freshman Travis Wear with 41.4 seconds to play.
But Peacock's driving basket against Wear put the Yellow Jackets ahead for good.
After a layup attempt by Larry Drew II of North Carolina rolled off the rim, Georgia Tech got the rebound and managed to burn about 10 seconds off the clock before the Tar Heels were able to foul.
D'Andre Bell made 1 of 2 free throws with 3.4 seconds left, setting up Graves' final miss on an inbounds play near midcourt after a timeout.
It was an eerie similarity to a matchup between the teams four years ago, when the Yellow Jackets led by 20 points at halftime before a freshman named Tyler Hansbrough led the Tar Heels back with a 40-point effort in the 82-75 victory.
Shumpert had 17 points in the first half and finished 10 of 17 from the field with six assists, while Gani Lawal added 12 points and 12 rebounds for the Yellow Jackets.
Georgia Tech ran out to the 20-point lead in front of a stunned blue-clad crowd, starting 6 of 7 from the field and capitalizing on a bevy of turnovers from the fumbling, bumbling Tar Heels in the first 10 minutes. That had the Tar Heels chasing the Yellow Jackets the rest of the afternoon, a task they didn't look up to for most of the day.
That is, until Graves got going.
After managing just two free throws in the first half, the junior almost single-handedly erased the Yellow Jackets' second-half margin. He had a burst of eight points in 2 minutes — including two 3-pointers — to help the Tar Heels close within 60-56, then took a feed from Marcus Ginyard and knocked down a long 3 to give North Carolina its first second-half lead at 64-63 with 4:30 left — a basket that sent the Smith Center crowd into an ear-ringing roar.
The teams traded the lead seven times in the final 4½ minutes.