CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — J.J. Mann had rehearsed hitting a winning shot many times before. When the ball came his way late against No. 12 North Carolina, the senior didn't squander the chance to give Belmont a road upset.
Mann hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with 13.1 seconds left, helping the Bruins beat the Tar Heels 83-80 on Sunday in the Hall of Fame Tip-Off.
Mann had a career-best 28 points, with the last basket giving the Bruins an 81-80 lead. After a missed shot from UNC's J.P. Tokoto, Caleb Chowbay scored on a breakaway layup with .2 seconds left that sent Belmont players rushing onto the court.
"There aren't great victories unless you beat great programs," longtime Belmont coach Rick Byrd said. "It's a big moment right now for us."
It appeared the Bruins would be left lamenting one that got away.
Belmont had frustrated North Carolina by playing with poise and hitting outside shots, leading by 11 early in the second half. Then the Tar Heels (2-1) rallied and led by eight with 2½ minutes left, only to see Mann and the Bruins push back.
With the Bruins trailing by two in the final 20 seconds, Reece Chamberlain brought the ball upcourt and flipped it to Mann, who launched the straightaway shot over Tokoto.
He said he was "about 99 percent sure it was going in" before it dropped through the net.
"It's something you dream about as a kid, and something that you pretend this summer in the gym," Mann said. "You're saying, 'All right, game winner against North Carolina, here you go.' And then it happens. It's just unbelievable."
Belmont, which has six NCAA Tournament trips in eight years, got its first win against a Top 25 team since beating No. 23 Missouri in December 2003. It was North Carolina's first nonconference home loss since falling to Illinois in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge eight years ago.
MICHIGAN FALLS: Melvin Ejim had 22 points and host Iowa State beat No. 7 Michigan 77-70, spoiling Mitch McGary's season debut. McGary, a preseason All-American who missed two games with a lower back injury, had nine points and six rebounds for the Wolverines (2-1).
NO. 1 KENTUCKY 87, ROBERT MORRIS 49: Aaron Harrison had 19 of his 28 points in the first half, and the host Wildcats (3-1) started all freshmen for the first time.
NO. 15 GONZAGA 82, OAKLAND 67: Kevin Pangos had 21 points and hit five 3-pointers, and Sam Dower added 15 points as the host Bulldogs (3-0) blew it open after halftime.
NO. 19 UCONN 77, BOSTON U 60: DeAndre Daniels had 24 points for the host Huskies (4-0), who blew a 19-point first-half lead before pulling away in the 2K Sports Classic.
INDIANA ST. 83, NO. 21 NOTRE DAME 70: Justin Gant had 17 points for the Sycamores as the Irish (2-1) lost for the first time in 49 November home games under coach Mike Brey.
NO. 22 NEW MEXICO 109, CHARLESTON SOUTHERN 93: Cameron Bairstow had a career-high 29 points to lead the host Lobos (2-0).
NO. 23 BAYLOR 87, LA.-LAFAYETTE 68: Kenny Chery had 20 points, and his 3-pointer capped an early 15-5 run for the host Bears (3-0) in a first-round game of the Maui Invitational.
UCF 83, B-CU 63: Isaiah Sykes came off the bench to score 22 with eight rebounds and eight assists to propel the host Knights (2-1) over the Wildcats (1-2).
EX-AD DIES: Joe Dean, a former LSU star and later the university's athletic director, died in Baton Rouge, La. He was 83. Mr. Dean is one of three LSU players inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame, with Bob Pettit and Pete Maravich.
SECOND CENTURY: Grinnell guard Jack Taylor, who set NCAA all-division record with 138 points in a game last season, had 109 in a 173-123 win over visiting Crossroads. Taylor, a junior, scored 71 in Friday's season opener for the Division III Pioneers.
USF 87, BRADLEY 63: Inga Orekhova had 20 points and Alisia Jenkins 14 rebounds, one of four players who set career highs in rebounds for the visiting Bulls (3-1). USF outrebounded the Braves 62-36 and scored 46 in the paint en route to its third straight win.
UF 83, KENNESAW ST. 62: Kayla Lewis, playing about 25 miles away from her hometown of Decatur, Ga., had 21 points on her 22nd birthday to lift the Gators (3-1).
FSU 88, PRAIRIE VIEW 37: Brittany Brown had 24 points to lead six players in double figures, and the host Seminoles (3-0) never trailed.
NO. 1 UCONN 71, NO. 13 PENN ST. 52: Bria Hartley tied a career high with 29 points to help the Huskies (4-0) beat their third ranked team in the week and snap a 22-game home winning streak by the Lions (2-1).
NO. 2 DUKE 92, ALABAMA 57: Tricia Liston had 20 points and Richa Jackson 15 for the Blue Devils (3-0), who won for the 400th time at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
NO. 3 STANFORD 66, UC DAVIS 48: Chiney Ogwumike had 28 points and 15 rebounds for the host Cardinal (3-1), which beat the Aggies for the eighth straight time.
NO. 4 TENN. 87, GA. TECH 76: Bashaara Graves matched a career high with 23 points and set one with 18 rebounds for the host Vols (4-0).
NO. 5 LOUISVILLE 97, NO. 11 OKLA. 92, OT: Tia Gibbs had 23 points for the visiting Cardinals (4-0), who held off the Sooners (3-1) to win the preseason WNIT title.
NO. 7 KENTUCKY 96, CENTRAL MICH. 74: DeNesha Stallworth scored 21 and Janee Thompson added a career-high 17 to help the host Wildcats (4-0) pull away.
NO. 10 CAL 67, G'TOWN 52: Rashanda Gray had 15 points for the visiting Golden Bears (2-2), who snapped a two-game losing streak.
NO. 12 UNC 78, UCLA 68: Allisha Gray had a career-high 30 points and 10 rebounds off the bench, and the visiting Tar Heels (2-1) repelled runs in both halves.
NO. 16 TEXAS A&M 63, HOUSTON 51: Courtney Walker had 19 points and Achiri Ade 18 points and 11 rebounds for the visiting Aggies (3-0).
NO. 18 PURDUE 81, TOLEDO 79: Courtney Moses had 30 points to and hit a go-ahead jumper with 6:29 left in the game that gave the visiting Boilermakers (3-0) the lead for good.
NO. 19 MICH. ST. 96, NO. 23 DAYTON 89, OT: Tori Jankoska and Aerial Powers had 24 points each for the host Spartans (2-1), who scored six straight early in overtime to put away the Flyers (2-2).
NO. 21 S.C. 88, SETON HALL 67: Elem Ibiam had 18 points and eight rebounds, and the host Gamecocks (4-0) pulled away.
NO. 24 GEORGIA 53, OHIO ST. 49: Erika Ford had 13 points as the host Bulldogs (3-0) held on in a meeting of NCAA Tournament regulars.