MARCH MADNESS: Tar Heels Escape Razorbacks, 72-65

MARCH MADNESS: Tar Heels Escape Razorbacks, 72-65
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By David Rogers. March 19, 2017. GREENVILLE, SC — Arkansas rallied back from a 17-point deficit with 5:31 remaining in the first half to lead by 5 points with 3:28 remaining in the game against North Carolina in the second round of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship Tournament at Bon Secours Wellness Arena.  But the Tar Heels put together a 12-0 run in the final minutes to put the game and the Razorbacks away, 72-65.

COVER IMAGE: Luke Maye (32) provided a first half spark on both ends of the court to help the Tar Heels to a 17-point advantage with a little more than 6 minutes to go before intermission.

Arkansas’ Jaylen Barford was acrobatic in helping lead the Razorbacks’ rally.

Arkansas senior guard Daryl Macon came off the bench to score a game-high 19 points, but the Tar Heels leverage their season-long rebounding prowess to record an 18-8 advantage in offensive rebounds. That gave them a 16-4 edge in second chance points.

UNC also made 19-of-25 free throw opportunities, while Arkansas only accounted for five charity shots in eight attempts.

We were awfully lucky.

The closeness of the final outcome was not lost on UNC head coach Roy Williams.

Daryl Macon (4) was a late first half catalyst in bringing the Razorbacks back from being down 17 points to just a 5 point deficit at halftime.

“We feel very fortunate,” the future Hall of Fame head coach admitted. “…We were awfully lucky…I thought the moon and the stars were not aligned properly, the shot clock was winding down, and they make a ‘three’ over a good defense.”

But the coaching veteran told his guys at a timeout with 3:47 remaining that they had not won (a tight game like this) all year, that it would be great for them to do it for this game.

“We got to be tough,” Williams told reporters about his message to his team. “It’s gotta be with our brain and our heart both. We’ve gotta get stops and we gotta get shots, both.”

North Carolina now advances to the Sweet 16 to face Butler, a 74-65 winner over Middle Tennessee on Saturday.

SLIDESHOW By David Rogers for Blowing Rock News

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