The sixth-seeded North Carolina men’s basketball team couldn’t hold on to an eight-point lead with under five minutes to play and fell 85-83 in the NCAA Tournament to third-seeded Iowa State Sunday night in San Antonio.
With the loss, the Tar Heels finished an up-and-down season at 24-10 while the Cyclones improved to a 28-7 record and will now take on No. 7 seed Connecticut in the Sweet Sixteen.
DeAndre Kane drove for the game-winning layup with 1.6 seconds left and booked the trip to Madison Square Garden for his teammates.
The Tar Heels lost in the NCAA Tournament’s opening weekend for the first time in consecutive seasons under Head Coach Roy Williams.
Carolina’s Nate Britt took the ball up court after Kane’s basket, but time expired before he could reach midcourt and call a timeout. Officials deliberated for several minutes reviewing clock replays before ruling the game over.
Kane finished with 24 points and 10 rebounds. Even without forward Georges Niang, who broke his foot in Friday’s win against N.C. Central, the Cyclones were dynamic on offense, causing all sorts of problem for the Tar Heel defense all night.
Marcus Paige led UNC with 19 points and Kennedy Meeks tallied 15 points and 13 rebounds for his first double-double since the Louisville game back in November.
Unfortunately for the Tar Heels, they were forced to play nearly the entire game without forward Brice Johnson, who suffered a sprained ankle in the opening minutes.
“It was a heck of a basketball game. If you didn’t care who won the game, you had to be entertained. You had to feel good about college athletics because it was two teams going very, very hard at each other. They made some plays down the stretch that they needed to make and we didn’t quite make the ones that we needed to make,” Coach Williams said.
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