The UNC basketball fans on Franklin Street were hoping for another chance.
Marcus Paige buried a 3-pointer against Villanova in Monday’s national championship game, tying the game with a little under five seconds left in regulation.
The historic downtown street erupted when he did it, but the scores of fans dressed in Carolina blue were deflated when No. 2 Villanova’s Kris Jenkins sank the game-winning 3-pointer.
The stretch of bars, shops and restaurants were flooded with dejected and shocked fans who had prepared to celebrate a Tar Heels victory.
“You can feel the energy, a lot of people on edge and pent-up energy,” said UNC alum Sawyer Russell, who was posted against a shop after the loss. “I hate it for the guys, Marcus (Paige) and Brice (Johnson). They’ve been through so many ups and downs. You wanted them to have a shot to win in OT.”
That’s what many of the murmurs were on Franklin following a devastating finals loss – sympathy for the seniors.
UNC alumna Jennifer Trahey walked out of Four Corners Grille with tears in her eyes.
She said she was at the school for the 2005 championship and said no one deserved to win more than Johnson and Paige because of all they’ve been through.
“I’m devastated for the seniors,” she said. “They represent everything I love about North Carolina.”
Jessika Morgan: 919-829-4538, @JessikaMorgan