BY JEFF BORZELLO
Harrison Barnes has been much-maligned all season – even if it’s not his fault that he was chosen as a preseason All-American.
The North Carolina freshman demonstrated his potential on Wednesday night, knocking down two shots in the final 1:09 to give the Tar Heels a 74-71 win at Miami (Fla.).
Barnes hit a step-back 15-footer to tie the score at 71, then knocked down a corner 3-pointer with 6.6 seconds left for the final margin.
“Wish I would have done it the whole game,” the always-humble Barnes told FOXSports.com after the game.
He finished with 13 points despite being held scoreless for the first 18 minutes.
While he has not completely lived up to expectations, Barnes’ performance last night quiets the doubters for at least one game.
“That’s the truth,” he said, laughing.
Here’s a look at the rest of an interesting night of college basketball:
FOXSports.com Stud of the Night: Who did you think it would be? Of course it was The Jimmer. Fredette has gone from an interesting story and a prolific scorer to something of a cult hero in the college basketball world – and last night cemented that status. He scored 20 points in the first half, had 34 points in the first 27 minutes and finished with 43 points. Fredette constantly hit tough shots, including a 24-footer at the buzzer of the shot clock with a defender draped all over him. Oh, and BYU beat San Diego State, 71-58.
Dud: Villanova was moving into No. 2 seed territory after its win at Syracuse on Saturday, but it erased those good memories with a 15-point loss at Providence last night. The Wildcats rely heavily on the 3-pointer, and when they shoot 4-for-22 from long-range, it’s tough for them to come out with a win. Providence has now defeated Louisville and Villanova in back-to-back games.
Mid-Major Stud: It wasn’t Fredette’s 43, but Xavier Silas continued to try and keep pace in the national scoring race by dropping 39 points to lead Northern Illinois to an 83-74 win over Akron. Silas knocked down five 3-pointers and 16 free-throws, shooting 9-for-17 overall from the field. He also chipped in with eight rebounds.
Stat of the Night: This one comes courtesy of the Ohio Valley Conference. Murray State, perennial mid-major darling and preseason favorite to win the OVC, has yet to have a player score 20 points in a game this year. The Racers, 6-3 in conference play, have only one player averaging double-figures, but nine players averaging at least five points per game. The streak moved to 20 games with last night’s win at SIU-Edwardsville.
Shot of the Night: Louisville and West Virginia both needed a win last night, but Cardinals point guard Peyton Siva gave Rick Pitino & Co. the victory. The sophomore called his own number on the final play, getting into the lane and finishing with an acrobatic lay-up while falling down. Siva finished with 14 points, making all five of his attempts from the field.
On Tap: There is nothing resembling the monster games of the past two days, but Thursday’s attention will turn to the west coast. UCLA heads to Arizona as both teams look to chase Washington in the Pac-10 race, while Saint Mary’s and Gonzaga battle in a WCC showdown. Also, Hofstra faces VCU for first-place in the Colonial and Boston College travels to Duke.