Tar Heels survive vs. Friars

North Carolina’s James Michael McAdoo hits a free throw in the final seconds against Providence.

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North Carolina’s James Michael McAdoo hits a free throw in the final seconds against Providence.

SAN ANTONIO, Texas — North Carolina isn't going home early like Duke. But only barely.

James Michael McAdoo hit two free throws in the final 3.5 seconds after the No. 6 seed Tar Heels had trailed just a minute earlier, and North Carolina hung on to beat pesky 11th-seeded Providence 79-77 Friday night in the second round of the NCAA Tournament's East Region.

Had North Carolina (24-9) lost, it would've been the first time since 1979 the Tar Heels and rival Blue Devils lost on the same day of the NCAAs. The Blue Devils fell earlier Mercer.

"We feel very fortunate, to say the least," North Carolina coach Roy Williams said.

Bryce Cotton had a career-high 36 points and made one dazzling shot after another in the Friars' first tournament appearance since 2004. But a breathtaking performance ended in agony: Cotton fumbled a long rebound late after a McAdoo free throw miss, robbing the Friars (23-12) of a chance for a last-second shot.

"It wasn't enough, you know?" Cotton said. "I definitely left it all out on the floor just like the rest of my teammates, but obviously, it wasn't enough because we didn't come up with the win."

Providence coach Ed Cooley was more forgiving.

"I've seen Bryce perform like that in practice, but when you get to this stage and you're able to do that — I've been saying the whole year I think Bryce is one of the top guards in all of America," Cooley said.

Marcus Paige led North Carolina with 19 points.

"It was a fun game — because we won," said Paige, laughing.

UVa 70, Coastal Caro. 59: Anthony Gill had 17 points to help No. 1 seed Virginia avoid a historic upset in Raleigh, N.C.

A No. 1 seed has never lost to a No. 16, with the Cavaliers making top seeds 120-0 since the field expanded in 1985.

The Cavaliers (29-6) trailed by 10 in the first half and five at halftime to the 16th-seeded Chanticleers before pushing ahead for good with about 9 minutes left.

Evan Nolte came off the bench and hit two huge 3-pointers to help Virginia finally push away from the Big South champion Chanticleers (21-13), who were in the tournament for the first time in 21 years.

The score was tied at 47 before Nolte's 3s powered a 23-7 spurt that finally put the game away.

Memphis 71, G. Wash. 66: The chant started with one player in Memphis' locker room. Forward Shaq Goodwin picked it up and it spread to a few other players who clapped with each syllable.

"Big-shot Mike!" they chanted.

Sixth man Michael Dixon had 19 points, including four free throws in the final 10 seconds, to help the eighth-seeded Tigers hold off the No. 9 Colonials 71-66 in Raleigh, N.C.

Joe Jackson scored 15 for the Tigers (24-9). Isaiah Armwood scored 21, a season high, but picked up his fourth foul with 12:02 left for GW (24-9).

Iowa St. 93, NC Central 75: Georges Niang scored 24 to lead the third-seeded Cyclones, who pulled away in the second half in San Antonio. But after the game the school said Niang has a foot fracture and is out for the rest of the tournament. The Big 12 tournament champions (27-7) struggled early with a program making its first NCAA appearance in its third year as a full-time Division I program. But the Cyclones' quickness and balance eventually took over. Jeremy Ingram scored 28 for 14th-seeded North Carolina Central (28-6), the MEAC champion which saw a 20-game winning streak end.

Tar Heels survive vs. Friars 03/21/14 [Last modified: Saturday, March 22, 2014 12:51am]

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