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Sunday, March 25, 2012
UNC holds off Ohio in OT
ST. LOUIS — Awful all night, Harrison Barnes came through when North Carolina needed him most.
Barnes scored five of his 12 points in overtime and the top-seeded Tar Heels escaped a huge upset with a 73-65 win over 13th-seeded Ohio on Friday night in the Midwest Regional semifinals.
Ohio, trying to become the first team seeded 13th or worse to make the regional finals since the NCAA tournament expanded in 1985, had a chance to convert a three-point play that would have given the Bobcats the lead with 25 seconds left in regulation. Walter Offutt missed from the line, however, and Ohio went 0-for-6 from the field in the first overtime of this year's tournament.
"One free throw away," Offutt said. "As a leader on this team, I take responsibility that I've got to hit that free throw. . . . It just feels terrible to kind of let my team down in that sort of way."
Tyler Zeller finished with 20 points and a career-high 22 rebounds for North Carolina, which sorely missed injured point guard Kendall Marshall. The Tar Heels had three players with double-doubles for the first time in an NCAA tournament game: Reggie Bullock had 17 points and 10 boards, and John Henson had 14 points and 10 rebounds.
Offutt led the 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 tournament games, finished with just 10 on 3-of-20 shooting.
North Carolina (32-5), which has won 11 straight in the regional semifinals, plays Kansas on Sunday afternoon.
"It means a heck of a lot," coach Roy Williams said moments after his team escaped, "but we've got to play better than we did today."
The Tar Heels barely advanced without Marshall, perhaps their most irreplaceable player and the steadying hand behind their fast-paced attack. His absence clearly showed.
Barnes was dismal, flirting with a season low in scoring as he went 3-for-16, missing from inside, outside and everywhere in between. But his teammates weren't much better, turning the ball over a season-high 24 times and shooting just 40 percent, six percentage points below their average. Worse, they could never get a handle on the smaller, quicker Bobcats.
After trailing by as much as 15 in the first half, Ohio got hot from long range and gave the Tar Heels almost more than they could handle. Ohio, a 10½-point underdog, was 8 of 13 from 3-point range in the second half, with Offutt doing most of the damage.
After Zeller's layup and a dunk by James McAdoo, Cooper hit his only 3 of the game. Kellogg came right back with another to give Ohio its first lead, 47-46, with 8:28 to play, and the Ohio faithful — plus all the new fans the underdogs picked up — went into a frenzy.
Kansas 60, NC State 57
In St. Louis, Thomas Robinson had 18 points and 15 rebounds, Jeff Withey blocked 10 shots to finish one shy of the NCAA tournament record, and the second-seeded Jayhawks held off No. 11 seed North Carolina State in the Midwest Regional semifinals.
Kansas (30-6) squandered an eight-point lead in the final few minutes, and didn't wrap up the win until Richard Howell's off-balance heave at the buzzer came up well short.
C.J. Leslie had 18 points to lead N.C. State (24-13), despite sitting much of the second half with four fouls. Scott Wood finished with 12 points on 2-for-10 shooting, though his biggest mistake wasn't a missed shot but the shot he never even got to attempt.
Kentucky 102, Indiana 90
In Atlanta, Anthony Davis had a rather quiet night. No worries. He's got plenty of help at Kentucky.
The top-seeded Wildcats took care of the team that beat them back in early December and are off to another regional final, putting all their weapons on display in a victory over gritty Indiana.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist scored 24 points and four other players were in double figures for Kentucky (35-2), which made up for a 73-72 loss back in early December.
Davis, the Wildcats' freshman star, wasn't a huge factor after picking up two early fouls, finishing with nine points and 12 rebounds.
Kentucky will face Baylor on Sunday for a trip to the Final Four.
Indiana freshman star Cody Zeller had 20 points, while Victor Oladipo chipped in with 15 before fouling out.
Baylor 75, Xavier 70
In Atlanta, Quincy Acy had 20 points and 15 rebounds to lift third-seeded Baylor past 10th-seeded Xavier and into its second regional final in three years.
The only senior in Baylor's starting lineup, Acy sank two free throws with 31 seconds remaining after Xavier cut the deficit to six.