March Madness 2022: Tar Heels survive ejection, big rally, beat ’21 champ Baylor

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A lot for the concept North Carolina is delicate in opposition to top-tier competitors. These Tar Heels are going to the Candy 16 after knocking off the defending champions.

No, it wasn’t straightforward. The Tar Heels blew a 25-point second-half lead after Brady Manek was ejected for a wild elbow and beginning guard Caleb Love fouled out, and so they had some points when top-seeded Baylor turned up the full-court strain. However they by no means fell behind, performed with poise in extra time and pulled out a 93-86 victory Saturday within the second spherical of the NCAA Match.

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“All 12 months we’ve simply been listening to various things about us, how we’re a delicate group, how we don’t wish to battle,” All-Atlantic Coast Convention energy ahead Armando Bacot mentioned. “Immediately, I believe we actually confirmed that we will battle. To persevere in a second like that and simply come collectively, I’m simply so happy with everybody.”

North Carolina guard RJ Davis (4) and ahead Armando Bacot (5) rejoice within the second half of a second-round recreation in opposition to Baylor within the NCAA school basketball event in Fort Value, Texas, Saturday, March, 19, 2022. 
(AP Picture/Tony Gutierrez)

RJ Davis scored a career-high 30 factors with a nifty layup whereas being fouled in extra time, when Bacot made the tiebreaking free throws after lacking three within the closing 38 seconds of regulation. Bacot had 15 factors and 16 rebounds, together with three blocked photographs.

A 12 months after shedding within the first spherical of the tourney in coach Roy Williams’ closing recreation, the Tar Heels (26-9) pulled off a shocker for his successor, Hubert Davis, who strikes on to the East Area semifinals in Philadelphia.

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“Baylor’s an awesome group. They’re the defending nationwide champions, and they didn’t wish to go residence,” Davis mentioned. “They stepped up their effort, however we stepped up our effort as nicely and we had been in a position to make the performs we wanted to make to win the sport.”

Extra time began with a 3-pointer by freshman Dontrez Types, who was 2 of 14 from lengthy vary on the season earlier than that. RJ Davis, who had 5 3-pointers in regulation, bought his solely factors in extra time on the off-balance layup with 1:18 left and added the free throw for a 91-85 lead.

“I didn’t wish to go residence. T. was no time to be drained,” Davis mentioned. “Our mindset was collect my teammates collectively and regrouping and to include our composure and let’s get this win.”

Adam Flagler had 27 factors for Baylor (27-7), which was 1-of-11 capturing in extra time. James Akinjo had 20 factors whereas Jeremy Sochan had 15 factors and 11 rebounds.

The Tar Heels gained as a No. 8 seed over a prime seed for a 3rd time. They did so on the best way to the Remaining 4 in 2000, 10 years after beating top-seeded Oklahoma when Davis was a participant for Dean Smith.

North Carolina had double-digit losses to Kentucky, Tennessee, Duke, Miami and Wake Forest, and was on the NCAA bubble earlier than successful seven of its final eight regular-season video games. That included a 94-81 win at Duke in retiring coach Mike Krzyzewski’s closing residence recreation.

Baylor misplaced within the second spherical for the second time within the final three NCAA tourneys. The Bears, who fell to top-seeded Gonzaga within the spherical of 32 three years in the past, had been attempting to match the largest comeback to win an NCAA Match recreation.

“Rudy Tomjanovich mentioned it finest, by no means underestimate the guts of a champion,” coach Scott Drew mentioned, combating again tears. “You’re down 25 and are available again and drive extra time. Actual happy with these guys and the guts with which they compete. I believe the perseverance they confirmed, the resilience all 12 months. Spiritually, they’ve been an awesome group. They’ve actually grown. We didn’t win on the court docket, however we’ve gained in life.”

Manek had 26 factors earlier than getting ejected due to a flagrant foul with 10:08 left in regulation after his left elbow to the face of Sochan as they had been battling beneath the Baylor basket. Manek had simply drained a 3-pointer that gave the Tar Heels their largest lead at 67-42.

With Manek out, and Love fouling out quickly after that, the Tar Heels had 10 turnovers as Baylor turned up the strain and made a livid rally.

“It was simply loopy as a result of their press, they was turning us over quite a bit after which we weren’t making free throws,” Bacot mentioned. “T. was a whole lot of strain in these moments. However, I imply, it was only a next-play mentality and we simply actually needed to dig in and simply maintain pushing and simply maintain a stage head. And fortunately, we got here out with a win.”

The Bears bought inside 76-73 on a three-point play with 1:48 left by Akinjo, who had one other one with 16 seconds left to tie the sport at 80-80. North Carolina had another shot, however Davis’ 3-point strive hit off the entrance of the rim.

“We knew that our group wasn’t going to surrender,” Flagler mentioned.

Baylor scored 11 straight factors in lower than two minutes after Manek’s ejection. Sochan made the second free throw earlier than having an help on a layup by Flagler, who then had consecutive 3s off UNC turnovers. The Bears moved inside 67-53 when Akinjo hit two free throws after Bacot was referred to as for a technical foul as the 2 tumbled to the ground.

Issues bought testy halfway via the primary half, and Sochan bought a technical foul when he appeared to lock his legs collectively and virtually pull Bacot to the ground with him.

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BIG PICTURE

North Carolina: With ex-coach Williams in Dickies Area, which is lower than 100 miles from Baylor’s campus, Davis scored the Tar Heels’ first eight factors in an 80-second span after the Bears had a fast 4-0 lead. North Carolina by no means trailed once more. Baylor tied it simply earlier than the top of regulation and as soon as in extra time.

Baylor: The Bears outscored North Carolina 38-13 over the ultimate 10 minutes of regulation. They fell simply wanting matching BYU, which overcame a 25-point first-half deficit to beat Iona in a First 4 recreation in 2012.

BUNCH OF HELPERS

North Carolina had 22 assists on its 28 discipline objectives, two days after 29 assists on 34 baskets in opposition to Marquette. Davis turned the primary Tar Heels participant with 10 assists in a single NCAA tourney recreation and 30 factors within the subsequent. He had six assists in opposition to Baylor, matching Leaky Black for the group lead.

UP NEXT

North Carolina will play in its thirty fifth Candy 16 in opposition to both UCLA or Saint Mary’s.

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