Take a look at some at the faces of celebration and dejection from the fourth day of March Madness.
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GREENVILLE, S.C. — With three minutes and 47 seconds standing between No. 1 seed North Carolina and a rather inexplicable early exit in this NCAA tournament, Roy Williams gathered his team in the huddle.
He told his players they hadn’t been in a game like this — a gut-check game, down three, then five, with three minutes to play — all season. More significant, they hadn’t won a game like this.
“I told our guys … that would be great for us,” Williams said. “We’ve got to be tough. It’s got to be with our brain and our heart both. We’ve got to get stops and we’ve got to get shots.”
And so they did. North Carolina scored on six of its final seven possessions and stifled an upset-minded Arkansas team, finishing the game on a 12-0 win and knocking out the eighth-seeded Razorbacks, 72-65, to advance to the Sweet 16. The Tar Heels will face No. 4 seed Butler this weekend in Memphis.
BOX SCORE: Tar Heels 72, Razorbacks 65
“We haven’t won a game like that all year,” junior forward Theo Pinson said. “Tonight, what a perfect time to win one.”
Williams said after the game that he felt fortunate to win; North Carolina players said it felt like the Razorbacks got every 50-50 ball, and that every wild, shot-clock-winding-down shot over a good defender fell for them, too. That type of luck, as Williams termed it, disappeared for Arkansas in the final three minutes of the game, as the Tar Heels made some of their own.
A Joel Berry drive — a controversial play that included a lot of contact and perhaps a travel — led to a Kennedy Meeks tip-in with 44 seconds left that sealed the game for the Tar Heels, who won despite shooting 38.1% from the field for the game and turning the ball over 17 times.
“I love the way they competed, and this feels awfully nice right now,” Williams said. “I don’t mind saying I feel a little lucky. Every now and then I knock in a long putt, too.”
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