Zabian Dowdell, Jamon Gordon and ball-hawking Virginia Tech didn't allow North Carolina to enjoy its stay at No. 1 for very long, holding off a comeback in the last eight minutes for a 94-88 upset Saturday.
Dowdell scored 23 points, Gordon had 17 and the Hokies (13-4, 3-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) turned 17 turnovers into 20 points. Virginia Tech earned its second victory against a top-ranked team.
North Carolina (15-2, 2-1), atop the poll for the first time in nearly six years, found out that the Hokies will take the ball away from you, not make too many mistakes and force teams to play smart or risk disappointment.
Duke found it out a week ago when the Hokies beat the No. 11 Blue Devils, 69-67, in overtime at Cameron Indoor Stadium, and the Tar Heels experienced it first-hand too.
The Hokies came in with an ACC-best turnover margin of 9.5.
North Carolina's 12-game winning streak that lifted it to the top of the poll for the first time since February 2001 ended, even though the Tar Heels pulled to within 91-88 with 16.9 seconds to play.
Dowdell made one of two free throws with 14.8 seconds left and Gordon made two more after rebounding a Tar Heels miss with 4.5 seconds left.
The loss also ended North Carolina's streak of 18 consecutive wins in the series.