Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tar Heels assert themselves after half to bounce FGCU

North Carolina guard Joel Berry II tries to work around Florida Gulf Coast forward Kevin Mickle during the first half. Berry has 14 points, one of five Tar Heels players in double figures as the East Region’s top seed blows open a tight game early in the second half.

Associated Press

North Carolina guard Joel Berry II tries to work around Florida Gulf Coast forward Kevin Mickle during the first half. Berry has 14 points, one of five Tar Heels players in double figures as the East Region’s top seed blows open a tight game early in the second half.

RALEIGH, N.C. — Brice Johnson had 18 points and No. 1 seed North Carolina needed an overwhelming second-half start to put away 16th-seeded Florida Gulf Coast 83-67 in Thursday's first round of the NCAA Tournament.

Isaiah Hicks added 12 points off the bench for the Tar Heels (29-6), who led by just a point after a frustration-filled opening half in which the Eagles stayed right with the East Region's top seed. But UNC dominated the first 10 minutes of the second half, running off a 20-3 burst by controlling the boards and locking down defensively to build a 20-point lead.

That helped the Tar Heels avoid the unwanted history of being the first top seed to lose to a 16 in tournament history.

Florida Gulf Coast already owned a bit of underdog history, with its "Dunk City" bunch the first 15th seed to reach the Sweet 16, in 2013.

This would've topped that considering the game was in UNC's home state, where the Tar Heels haven't lost an NCAA game in 37 years. But by the end, this one looked a lot like those other 1-vs.-16 matchups, with the Tar Heels just too big, deep and athletic for the Atlantic Sun champions.

Christian Terrell had 15 points for Florida Gulf Coast, which shot 60 percent in the first half but went 2-of-15 to open the second.

At halftime, Florida Gulf Coast trailed just 41-40 to cause a mild wave of concern through the home-state crowd of blue-clad fans filling a rival school's arena.

But the Tar Heels started the second half with a 3-pointer from Marcus Paige, followed by a transition layup from Joel Berry II to restore a cushion. Minutes later, Johnson outfought Eagles defenders for a rebound and scored a stickback while being fouled for a three-point play that pushed UNC's lead to eight.

By the time Berry grabbed a loose ball and scored while being fouled for his own three-point play, the Tar Heels led 57-45 with 15:07 left. The margin did not slip below double digits again.

INDIANA 99, CHATTANOOGA 74: Yogi Ferrell had 20 points and a season-high 10 assists, O.G. Anunoby scored 14 and the fifth-seeded Hoosiers took charge of their NCAA Tournament opener in Des Moines, Iowa.

Thomas Bryant had 13 points and Troy Williams 12 points and eight rebounds for Indiana (26-7), whose high-powered offense was in prime form. The Hoosiers shot 37-of-57 from the floor for 64.9 percent. Anunoby, a long-armed freshman forward, was 6-of-7 with a highlight-reel array of 3-pointers and dunks.

Duke Ethridge had 14 points and Justin Tuoyo 12 for the No. 12 seed Mocs, whose stellar first season under coach Matt McCall came to a screeching end.

The Hoosiers dodged the 5-12 danger that eliminated Baylor and Big Ten rival Purdue and did their part to set up a possible second-round matchup of storied programs. Indiana will play the Stony Brook-Kentucky winner Saturday.

Ferrell, the fiery point guard who is generously listed at 6 feet, has never advanced past the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament and is aiming to extend an impeccable college career by another week or two.

Tar Heels assert themselves after half to bounce FGCU 03/17/16 [Last modified: Thursday, March 17, 2016 11:30pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Yellow cards stall Rowdies offense in tie with St. Louis

    Soccer

    ST. PETERSBURG — It's not the result they wanted, but it certainly could have been worse. Neill Collins' 87th-minute header off a corner kick was the reward the Rowdies settled for Saturday night during a 1-1 draw with St. Louis before an announced 6,068 at Al Lang Stadium.

  2. Calvary Christian routs Pensacola Catholic to win state baseball title

    Baseballpreps

    FORT MYERS — Calvary Christian left no doubt as to which baseball team in Class 4A was the best in Florida this season. The Warriors defeated Pensacola Catholic 11-1 in six innings Saturday night at Hammond Stadium to claim the school's first state championship in any team sport. It also solidified a 30-0 season. …

    Matheu Nelson celebrates after scoring on a wild pitch during the first inning, when Calvary Christian took a 6-0 lead.
  3. Numerous lapses add up to frustrating Rays loss to Twins

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — While the Rays made some good defensive plays, threw a couple of big pitches when they needed to and got a few, and just a few, key hits, there were some obvious things they did wrong that led to them losing Saturday's game to the Twins 5-3:

    Rays reliever Tommy Hunter says the Twins’ tiebreaking homer came on a pitch that was “close to where I wanted it.”
  4. Rays journal: Steven Souza Jr. laughing right along after comical dive

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — Souza being Souza.

    That seemed to be the best way to describe the entertaining — and comically bad — dive Rays RF Steven Souza Jr. attempted in Friday's game, and the good humor he showed in handling the fallout, including a standing ovation his next at-bat from the …

    Twitter
  5. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Saturday's Rays-Twins game

    The Heater

    RHP Jake Odorizzi had to battle without his best stuff again, which is becoming a more common occurrence, leading to long at-bats — including 13 pitches to Kennys Vargas in the fifth — and running up his pitch count to 118 without finishing the sixth.