A year later, one shot still driving Tar Heels in NCAA Tournament

North Carolina will face Texas Southern on Friday as the Tar Heels open their 2017 NCAA tournament. But he had 19 points by halftime in this one, helping the Tar Heels (28-7) quickly eliminate any chance of an unprecedented upset.

The Tigers (23-12) did close the game to nine points in the second half, but Justin Jackson (21 points, 8-for-13 FG, 5-for-8 from three) answered with four three-pointers on the team's next four possessions.

Originally scheduled for Greensboro, this weekend's NCAA Tournament sub-regional in Greenville, S.C. was moved out of North Carolina amid controversy surrounding House Bill 2.

"There's still a lot to play for", Williams said.

North Carolina guard Joel Berry was with his team in Times Square in NY last week during the ACC tournament when they saw a familiar image up on a giant video board. Any slip up along the way and the Tar Heels will be back in Chapel Hill. Make the right play and play with tenacity on defense to utilize the opportunity to develop the proper mindset for the tough games ahead.

UNC led by 20-plus points throughout most of the ballgame.

"It's tough to get all the rest you need when you get back from NY at 7 a.m. (Sunday morning)", Allen said.

"North Carolina is just at a totally different level than where we are as a basketball team", Davis said. At least not in the Tar Heels locker room.

While Duke won't have to win four games in four days on its quest for the program's sixth national championship this month, the second-seeded Blue Devils will play No. 15 Troy at 7:27 p.m. Friday in Greenville. "It's a little sore, but other than that I'm fine".

The Tigers were no match for the No. 1 seed Tar Heels, who avoided struggling like Villanova and Gonzaga did as No. 1 seeds.

The Tar Heels are aware of it even when they don't see it. The Tar Heels need to use this game to get used to their surroundings and to work on some things that may not have worked as well during the regular season. And we want to get back to that because we had so much fun during that run.

"I just know this team, we want to get back to where we were past year", Berry said.

Berry returned to the team huddle at the first media timeout, then sat on the hardwood in front of the scorer's table to enter the game with around 12 minutes to play. "I don't want to go down in the first round like that".

It was North Carolina's highest point total in an NCAA game since scoring 108 against Arkansas in the 2008 second round.

  • Zachary Reyes