The University of North Carolina men’s basketball team was crushed by Kentucky for much of December. Caused disgrace in Miami and Wake Forest in January. It was embarrassed by Duke and Pittsburgh on its own court in February and needed extra time to beat a tragic Syracuse.
Then came March. Tar Heels went to the Duke and was spoiled Mike Khrzechevsky’s final game at the Cameroon Indoor Stadium March 5. Then, in extra time on Saturday in Fort Worth, Texas, they advanced to the 16th round of the NCAA Tournament, No. 1 in the Eastern Region. 1 player and current national champion upset Baylor.
Each of those signature wins has a strap that can redeem any wrong season. But both? As former North Carolina coach Roy Williams says – and the moment came when he sat on the Fort Worth stand – “Snow.”
Eighth-ranked Tar Heels will meet with St. Mary’s or UCLA in Philadelphia on Friday.
It was Suspense’s late work to beat Baylor, the No. 1 seed to lose this year’s match, 93-86 on Saturday.
UNC initially took the lead and held it without even a tie until 15.8 seconds remaining.
But Baylor was able to somehow destroy what appeared to be the dominant performance of Thar Heels.
In the first half – then led by Tar Heels 13 – UNC took half of its shots off the field, while Baylor sank 40 percent and fought hard behind the curve. They were in almost total revision, with UNC having the smallest margins. But Baylor’s turnover sparked Carolina’s resurgence, with Dar Heels scoring 15 of 42 points before the break.
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RJ Davis, the second student from NY, White Plains, scored 17 in the first half and added 13 more in the second half.
Davis and his team-mates began to rise after a 9-point defeat to Pittsburgh on February 16, losing only once to Virginia Tech at the Atlantic Coast Conference. This month Khrushchevsky was amazed to see them, and his team is made up of players like Armando Pacot, a 6-foot-10 junior who collects refunds with the enthusiasm of a domestic revenue service agent and moved in from Oklahoma like Brady Manek. Saturday’s game put North Carolina ahead by 3 points.
“We knew the potential of this team coming up this season and we wanted to change that,” Davis said Friday. “After the appearance of the pit we knew, it’s not the way we wanted to play. So from then on, I think we’ve turned it around and started competing.
Baylor avoided the humiliation of a long trip home after a miserable defeat, and thanks to Thursday’s victory over Norfolk State, the humiliation of being the opening champion in match history, but it happened far less than expected.
Baylor could not manage a basket for four minutes in the second half. UNC took that break and scored 13 points to take a 24 lead.
Most of it came from Manek, who scored 9 points in the first half and felt smaller in the second half when he had 17. He would have finished over 26 points, but he was dismissed for more than that. 10 minutes to play after being called in for a blatant mistake.
His dismissal, within two hours, was the catalyst for the Baylor attack, which seemed like a solid route to Philadelphia.
Baylor narrowed the gap one shot after another.
The team, once trailing by 25 runs, equalized the game by 80 runs in less than 16 seconds when Manek made his mistake.
No team rediscovered the basket in order, forcing extra time.
Tontres Styles, a newcomer, hit the opening 3-pointer to allow UNC to regain control. Pagot made a free throw.
Baylor’s Matthew Mayer then replaced the two from the line. Jeremy Socனின்n tied the knot again with a lap game.
The mayor’s final mistake sent Paco back to the line; Made two attempts. James Aquino made a free throw on Baylor’s own, moving the edge of the game back to 1.
A march by Leakey Black increased North Carolina’s presence. Davis made a loaf, then the free throw he earned during his attempt.
There were only 78 seconds to play in overtime, and North Carolina rose to 6th.
Time was running out with Baylor, who had a stake in the regular season title of the Big 12 conference, and the score did not change greatly, wasting the chances of them coming close to saving an afternoon and a season.
Instead, North Carolina, a team that will be forgotten long ago, will be scheduled to play in March.
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