Tar Heels’ season ends amid raining threes

After an even first half, Auburn blitzed North Carolina with 12 three pointers in 18 attempts in the second half to blow past the Tar Heels 97-80 and end their season in disappointing fashion. The Tigers advance to the Elite 8 after sinking 17 total three pointers and scoring 19 points off 14 UNC turnovers. After leading by as many as five points in the first half, Auburn scored six straight in the last minute of the first half to take a 41-39 lead at the break. Surprisingly being outscored in the paint in the first half 24-12, North Carolina […]

After an even first half, Auburn blitzed North Carolina with 12 three pointers in 18 attempts in the second half to blow past the Tar Heels 97-80 and end their season in disappointing fashion.

The Tigers advance to the Elite 8 after sinking 17 total three pointers and scoring 19 points off 14 UNC turnovers.

After leading by as many as five points in the first half, Auburn scored six straight in the last minute of the first half to take a 41-39 lead at the break.

Surprisingly being outscored in the paint in the first half 24-12, North Carolina actually was in good shape down by just two. The Tar Heels have often come out energized in the second half this season and taken control of games.

Instead, Auburn extended its streak. After two Tiger threes and a two in the first minute and a half on the second half to make it 49-39, UNC coach Roy Williams uncharacteristically called a timeout to try to halt the run.

Carolina cut the deficit to six at 60-54 with 13:39 left after senior Luke Maye hit a hook follow.

But Danjel Purifoy came off the Auburn bench to can three three-pointers in just over a minute to stretch the lead out to 73-57 with just under 10 minutes to go.

If that weren’t bad enough, Anfernee McLemore, one of eight different Tigers who hit threes, banked in a wild three to extend the lead to 76-57.

The Tar Heels never got closer than 10 the rest of the way. While Coach Williams refused to use it as an excuse, it must be said that grad senior Cam Johnson, Carolina’s leading scorer, was playing sick as was freshman Nassir Little, who had been Carolina’s best player in the NCAA Tournament.

Coach Williams said that Little, who had two potential dunks blocked, didn’t have the lift he normally has and that Johnson was “just not the same Cam.”

Johnson was throwing up after the game. Both players had fevers earlier in the week.

Nonetheless, Johnson scored 15 points but hit only two of seven three pointers. Freshman Coby White also tallied 15 but he was an even worse zero of seven from beyond the arc. Seniors Luke Maye and Kenny Williams, who was especially distraught when the outcome became obvious, rounded out the double figure scoring with 13 and 10 points.

The Tar Heels end the season 29-7 despite winning 17 of their last 20 games with the other losses coming to teams that were No.1 in the nation at the time – fellow ACC foes Virginia and Duke.

For more on the season finale, including a box score, please click here.