Cole Anthony scores 26 in return from knee surgery, but Tar Heels fall

Anthony air-balls potential game winner (1:15)

Boston College spoils Cole Anthony's return from injury, as Anthony's last-second heave is way off the mark. (1:15)

Boston College spoiled the return of Cole Anthony and added another blemish to North Carolina's résumé with a thrilling 71-70 victory in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, on Saturday.

Anthony, who scored a game-high 26 points after missing the previous 11 games as he recovered from knee surgery, started 0-for-5 from the field before leading a come-from-behind rally and hitting the go-ahead score with 30 seconds to play. On Boston College's next possession, however, Brandon Robinson fouled Jared Hamilton on a 3-point attempt. Hamilton, a 77% free throw shooter, made two of three before Anthony missed the potential winning 3-pointer at the buzzer.

Afterward, Tar Heels coach Roy Williams was asked if the team had to go through an adjustment period with Anthony back on the floor.

"I would assume so, [but] anybody that thinks that he caused us to play poorly, they are an idiot," Williams said. "I mean, if you look at the [stat] line ... [he went] 14-for-14 from the line, 26 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 turnover and 2 steals. It does take time for guys to get used to it, but [shooting] 4-for-19 from the [3-point line as a team] doesn't help you. That is 21%, and we have been shooting 29-30 [%] so ...."

North Carolina had hoped to prove to the NCAA tournament selection committee that Anthony, who'd led the team to a 6-3 start before his surgery, made the Tar Heels a different team, one worthy of at-large consideration. But the projected NBA lottery pick's big night couldn't save North Carolina from what is a Quad 4 home loss in the NCAA's selection system (Boston College entered the game 161st in the NET rankings), a damaging development for its NCAA tournament odds.

Anthony received a standing ovation when he checked into the game Saturday. But he left the court amid more questions surrounding a North Carolina program that hasn't missed the NCAA tournament in a decade. The Tar Heels went 4-7 while Anthony was sidelined, and Saturday's loss dropped them to 3-7 in ACC play and 10-11 overall.

He averaged 19.1 points per game before undergoing arthroscopic surgery to address a partially torn meniscus in his right knee.

On Saturday, Anthony seemed to rush some of his shots early in his return, not unexpected for a talented freshman trying to regain his rhythm. The Tar Heels are a better team with Anthony, but Saturday's home loss might suggest that even with his return, they're not good enough to crack the field of 68.