Coming into Friday's match up, No. 25 UNC boasted a four-game winning streak and seemed as if it was finally turning the corner.
Forty minutes later, that notion became apparently premature.
In the Tar Heels' 74-76 loss to Pitt, they started strong with an early lead and controlled the game for the majority of the first half. Pitt made a run at the end of the period, but UNC regained momentum in the second half, going up by as much as nine with just under 12 minutes to go.
From there, the Tar Heels let their foot off the gas, going back into their old ways with empty possessions and missed shots. It also didn't help that no one could stop Pitt guard Jamarius Burton who recorded a career-high 31 points all from two-point range and free throws.
Head coach Hubert Davis said he felt his team took a step back in "discipline," "details," and "defensively." Although there's still plenty of games to go, this team has to figure it out fast with conference play already in motion and tougher competition ahead.
UNC now sits at 9-5 overall and 1-2 in the ACC. Here are some takeaways from its most recent defeat.
Shooting needs to be more consistent
UNC is no short of players that can shoot the basketball at a high level, but not many of them can shoot well all the time.
A significant reason for the second half meltdown was the inability to knock down open shots, something that they had no problem with earlier in the game.
In the first half, the Tar Heels shot 51.6 percent from the floor and an efficient 46.2 percent from three.
They went ice cold in the second half, shooting 33.3 percent overall and just 11.1 percent from deep.
In the final six minutes of the game, UNC made only one field-goal which came from Tyler Nickel with two seconds left.
Shooting like that in a closing stretch will make it very difficult to put teams away, especially when they have a hot player like Burton who kept getting his way at the rim.
UNC is a much better shooting team than it showed in that half, but consistency has been a problem between games with some streaky performances this season.
Caleb Love has been one of the most inconsistent shooters, shooting well above 50 percent some nights but well below 40 percent on others. Against Pitt, Love recorded his season-low in scoring and his second single-digit scoring performance and on the year, finishing the game with seven points on 3-9 shooting.
When the Tar Heels are on, they are very tough to beat, but when they're off, they essentially give games away with long dry spells. Just one or two more made field-goals in the second half could've made all the difference in this game, but the inability to hit shots on a regular basis hurt UNC in the end.
The bench needs more minutes
UNC needed a spark outside of its starters to help close out Pitt in the second half, but the bench never really got its chance to make an impact.
Outside of D'Marco Dunn's 11 minutes in the closing period, none of the Tar Heels' second unit played a full minute.
Puff Johnson made a three in his two-minute stint in the first half, but he picked up three quick fouls and didn't play again.
When the Tar Heels needed scoring and defensive help on Burton in the second half, the elite defender in Seth Trimble and three-point specialist in Tyler Nickel couldn't get on the court.
It's also worth noting that Jalen Washington and Dontrez Styles didn't play at all.
Coach Davis' use of his bench has been interesting this season as he has utilized a deep rotation in some games but has only played six or seven guys in others.
It's not surprising that the rotation is usually cut down in tighter games, but in rough stretches like the one on Friday, it's eye-raising that Davis doesn't look for answers in his reserves.
In the short time it's had this season, the bench has come up big for UNC, more on the defensive end through Dunn and Trimble's on-ball pressure and Johnson's length.
Offensively, there's room for improvement, especially with freshmen Trimble and Nickel who are still getting their feet wet on the college level.
But, when will Davis pull the trigger and let those guys play long enough to get into their own rhythms and make an even greater impact on the game?
This team will need depth down the stretch, and it will need answers when the starters can't respond in the big moments.
The time to foster confidence in the bench is now, and it should get more time to show what it can do in the future.