Friday, March 23, 2012

Marshall-less Heels Survive And Advance

(Robert Willett/Raleigh News & Observer)
NORTH CAROLINA 73, Ohio 65 OT – North Carolina (32-5) overcame a season-high 24 turnovers, a horrible shooting performance from Harrison Barnes for most of the game and a shaky perimeter defense that gave up 12 three pointers  to somehow defeat the Bobcats to advance to the Elite Eight.

Tyler Zeller had 20 points and 22 rebounds and Barnes scored five of his 12 points in overtime as the #1 seed in the region literally survived and advanced. Zellers 20/20 in the Big Dance was the first since Tim Duncan (Wake Forest) did it 15 years ago.

Reggie Bullock scored a much-needed 17 points including a critical three late in regulation and a big three in overtime.

The Tar Heels turned up the defensive heat in overtime outscoring the upstart and, by then, weary Bobcats 10-2.

Game over.

North Carolina was cleary out of sync without injured point guard Kendall Marshall.  His primary replacement Stillman White scored 2 points and had six assists while not contributing to the big Tar Heel turnover tally.  Nonetheless, UNC's offense was inconsistent at best.

ZELLER (Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Ohio, only the seventh team seeded 13th or worse to reach the regional semifinals, had a chance to convert a three-point play with 25 seconds left in regulation that would have given them the lead. Walter Offutt missed from the line, though, the only free throw the Bobcats botched all night. Then they went 0 for 6 from the field in overtime.

Offutt led the 13th-seeded Bobcats (29-8) with 26 points, including 18 from 3-point range, and Nick Kellogg added 14. But D.J. Cooper, who had averaged 20 points in the first two NCAA tournament games, finished with just 10 on 3-of-20 shooting.

UNC outrebounded Ohio by a big 63 to 30 margin.

North Carolina shot 40.6% from the field, 31.8% from behind the arc a woeful 58.3% from the charity stripe.

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