North Carolina vs. Gonzaga score: Tar Heels suffer fourth consecutive loss as early season woes continue

North Carolina extended its losing streak to four on Wednesday night, falling 94-81 to No. 2 Gonzaga on the Zags' home floor at The Kennel. It's the longest losing streak for Roy Williams' Tar Heels since 2010, the last time UNC missed the NCAA Tournament. In his tenure this ties for the longest losing streak ever.

The good news is that a bounce back should be on the horizon for the wobbling Tar Heels. UNC has never lost five consecutive games under Williams, and Wednesday it has an opportunity to at least avoid setting a new record as it takes on UCLA in Las Vegas as part of the CBS Sports Classic. UNC is projected by KenPom.com to win by seven over the Bruins, and UCLA this season has already taken losses to Hofstra, BYU, Michigan State and Notre Dame.

For a blueblood program like UNC, which annually has a single-digit number next to its name on the ticker, this rumbling, stumbling start is a stunner. The loss Wednesday, however, shouldn't be a surprise.

For one, Gonzaga remains a bear to beat at home. The Bulldogs haven't fallen in Spokane since 2018. Secondly, Gonzaga, remains a power player in the sport. With the win, it improves to 12-1 on the season despite a grueling nonconference slate that has featured games against Oregon, Washington, Arizona and Texas A&M, among others.

Thirdly, and most importantly why this loss shouldn't come as a surprise: UNC is without its best player. Freshman point guard Cole Anthony missed UNC's loss to Wofford over the weekend dealing with a knee injury. And after the loss, UNC announced he will miss four-to-six weeks recovering from an arthroscopic procedure to repair a partially torn meniscus in his right knee.

Further, Gonzaga deserved to win this game. It jumped out early, took a seven-point lead to halftime and didn't trail at all in the second half. The Bulldogs shot 9 of 19 (50%) from the 3-point line, 35 of 59 (59.3%) from the floor, and won the turnover battle. Filip Petrusev scored 20 points and Corey Kispert added 26, as five Gonzaga players finished in double figures in the rout.

Gonzaga should be on its way to keep its winning ways alive moving forward, too. Up next are two home games against Eastern Washington and Detroit before WCC play begins Jan. 2 against Portland.

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