Sports and Scores
 
NCAA Basketball
Scoreboard | Standings | Teams | Leaders | Polls
65
South Regional - Round 3
Final 1 2 Tot
33 32 65
38 34 72
72
6:10 ET, Mar 19, 2017
Bon Secours Wellness Arena, Greenville, South Carolina

No. 1 seed North Carolina survives to beat Arkansas 72-65

(AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

By AARON BEARD

AP Basketball Writer

GREENVILLE, S.C. (AP) North Carolina's players talked all year about their run to last year's NCAA championship game - that, as painful as the loss was, it prepared them for another Final Four push.

On Sunday, down to a handful of possessions with their season suddenly in peril, the Tar Heels' experience saved them from a stunningly early exit.

Kennedy Meeks had 16 points and a huge tip-in with 44.2 seconds left, helping top-seeded UNC barely avoid a huge upset by rallying late to beat Arkansas 72-65 in the second round of the NCAA Tournament's South Region.

"I don't mind saying I feel a little lucky," UNC coach Roy Williams said. "Every now and then, I knock in a long putt, too."

The team with three returnees who were on the court for Villanova's title-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer last year had enough composure to shake off everything on a day rapidly going wrong.

A blown 17-point first-half lead.

Arkansas' aggressive and harassing defense.

Even a 65-60 deficit in the final 3 minutes, which threatened to turn the game into the kind of March Madness moment that had befallen the fellow 1-seed Wildcats only a day earlier.

Instead UNC closed on a 12-0 run to give Williams his 18th trip to the Sweet 16 dating to his time at Kansas.

"We could've easily laid down those 3 or 4 minutes and gave in," junior point guard Joel Berry II said, "but like I said, we've got dreams and goals we want to reach. And we just didn't want to go home."

Justin Jackson added 15 points for the Tar Heels (29-7), including the win-capping dunk off a turnover with 3.5 seconds left. Senior Isaiah Hicks came up big late, too, with a dunk and four free throws in the final 2 minutes after being a no-show much of the way.

Daryl Macon scored 19 points before battling leg cramps for the eighth-seeded Razorbacks (26-10), who did just about everything right in the second half - except close out the Tar Heels.

"We came to dance and we didn't come to do the one-step," Arkansas coach Mike Anderson said. "We wanted to bust up some brackets here today."

The Razorbacks had UNC wobbling with their aggressive, mistake-forcing defense harassing the Tar Heels all over the court. And when Jaylen Barford scored in transition off a turnover, Arkansas led 65-60 with 3:28 left.

But the Tar Heels responded in a huge way.

BIG PICTURE

Arkansas: Anderson said the Razorbacks wouldn't change what they do against the go-go-go Tar Heels. His team rallied from 30-13 down to take its first lead midway through the second half behind a "40 Minutes of Hell" familiar edge from the Nolan Richardson era. In the end, though, Arkansas fell to 0-9 against No. 1 seeds in the NCAAs and couldn't reach the Sweet 16 for the first time since 1996.

"They're a great team," guard Manuale Watkins said. "And their backs were against the wall. They made the plays to win the game. They're a 1-seed. They showed it."

UNC: How did experience help? After Barford's layup, the Tar Heels scored on six of their final seven possessions while the Razorbacks came up empty on their last seven.

"We know not to panic," Berry said. "Coach always tells us, `Keep playing, keep playing, play better.' That experience came into play. There were plays that we called, we executed them and that's what you've got to do."

MEEKS' BIG NIGHT

With the shot clock winding down, Berry drove and collided with Adrio Bailey. There was no whistle - no charge, no blocking foul, no travel - so Berry just flung the ball onto the backboard.

That's when Meeks came through with his big tip-in. Meeks got inside position on Moses Kingsley to tap the ball with his left hand, sending it off the backboard and in for the 68-65 lead.

"I did what Coach always said: that's get in front of the defender when the shot goes up, and it fell on my hands," Meeks said. "We do tip drills all the time in practice, so it was something I was used to."

RAZORBACKS' FINISH

While the Tar Heels took over late, Arkansas squandered its chances to reclaim momentum. Most notably, Kingsley missed two free throws with 25.2 seconds left while Anton Beard followed with a missed 3-pointer for the tie.

Hicks hit two free throws with 10 seconds left to all but seal it.

"They made some big plays, and a couple of shots went their way," Beard said. "That's just how it goes in March Madness."

UP NEXT

North Carolina advanced to the Sweet 16 to play fourth-seeded Butler on Friday in Memphis, Tennessee.

---

Follow Aaron Beard on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/aaronbeardap

---

More AP college basketball: http://collegebasketball.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP-Top25

Updated March 19, 2017

Sports Data API Powered by STATS © 2017 by STATS.
Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS is strictly prohibited.

Audio On Demand

MMQB's Peter King with Da…

MMQB's Peter King with Dale, Holley and Keefe

We had an impromptu visit from Peter King from SI / MMQB to our Fenway Studios and decided to talk some NFL and Patriots with him.

Phil Perry, CSNNE on the Patriots and NFL free agency

Pete talks with The Senator, Phil Perry about the Patriots trading for Dwayne Allen, ruling out a return to New England for Martellus Bennett. They also talk about the potential future of Patriots backup QB Jimmy Garoppolo and some of the big names in NFL free agency

NFL SUNDAY...the final segment of the year -- 2-5-17

Pete, Thornton and Price give their final thoughts and predictions for the Super Bowl.

LaVar Ball with Dale, Hol…

LaVar Ball with Dale, Holley and Keefe

Dale, Holley and Rich Keefe discuss NBA lottery pick Lonzo Ball with his very outspoken father Lavar Ball. The guys touch on the Celtics, his feud with his sons' high school coach, Lonzo being better than Steph Curry and much more.

Kirk and Callahan- Will Isaiah Thomas win a title in Boston? 3-7-17

Kirk, Gerry, and Alex Reimer discuss whether or not Isaiah Thomas will win a title in Boston.

Kirk and Callahan- Celtics lose after Thomas mishandles the ball 3-6-17

Gerry, Kirk, and Trenni react to the Celtics loss against the Suns.

Brian Johnson Player of t…

Brian Johnson Player of the Game Interview 5-27-17

Joe, Tim, & Lou Merloni talk with Red Sox starting pitcher Brian Johnson who pitched a complete game 5 hit shutout of the Seattle Mariners at Fenway Park.

Eduardo Rodriguez Player of the Game Interview 5-26-17

Jot & Tim talk with Red Sox starting pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez who went 6 scoreless innings as the Red Sox shutout the Seattle Mariners 3-0 in the series opener.

Drew Pomeranz Player of the Game Interview 5-25-17

Joe and Tim talk with Red Sox starting pitcher Drew Pomeranz who got the win and tied his career high in strikeouts tonight with 11 as the Red Sox beat the Texas Rangers 6-2.

Bruce Cassidy with Dale, …

Bruce Cassidy with Dale, Holley and Keefe

Dale, Holley and Keefe interview the newest coach of the Boston Bruins for the first time, Bruce Cassidy.

The 1972 Bruins

Highlights

Saturday Skate - Bruins and the All-Star break

Guys talk the Bruins season so far and the All-Star Break

K&C - Casting Couch ratin…

K&C - Casting Couch ratings are revealed 5-26-17

The long awaited numbers for the Casting Couch are unveiled.

K&C - Mut loves Dining Playbook; Pete Sheppard has a new favorite player 5-26-17

Hour 4: Mut is a huge fan of Dining Playbook.

K&C - Pete Sheppard talked Buccaneers football 5-26-17

Hour 3: Pirating Pete continues.

OMF - David Price is comi…

OMF - David Price is coming back, Xander Bogaerts is delivering sans homeruns, and other Sox tales 5-26-17

Adam Schefter continues to wave the "Garoppolo is staying" banner. David Price may be the one saying he is ready. Or he's just tired of Pawtucket. And can Devin Marrero steal Pablo Sandoval's starting job?

OMF - What does Ordway want for the Celtics offseason? We're still not sure 5-26-17

David Price is slated to join the big Sox Monday vs. the White Sox. Jaylen Brown has silenced his critics who wish he was Buddy Hield or Kris Dunn. And we go to the tape to figure out what exactly Glenn wants during the NBA offseason.

OMF - Celtics offseason is full of questions; most of them pertain to Lebron James 5-26-17

The Boston Celtics have taken a lot of steps forward this year and gave the fans an entertaining season. Going forward, Danny Ainge will be busy trying to get this team to the next level. How will he tackle the obstacle that Lebron and the Cavaliers present?

Dale, Holley and Keefe's …

Dale, Holley and Keefe's Freestyle Friday Hour 4 - Bill Polian does it again and all topics on the table

Hour 4 we go back to some Sox and Celts, plus Bill Polian once again says something supremely stupid.

Dale, Holley and Keefe's Freestyle Friday Hour 3 - David Price's return and other Red Sox items, NBA Super Teams

Hour 3 starts with lots of Sox talk, plus we continue some NBA discussion.

Dale, Holley and Keefe's Freestyle Friday Hour 2 - Celtics Direction and Future

Hour 2 focuses mostly on what the Celtics should do now that their season is over... where should they go in their future?

Ep. 59: Kirk’s Mailbag

Ep. 59: Kirk’s Mailbag

Kirk Minihane is back after a brief hiatus and answers questions from listeners about various things including WEEI personalities, the state of the K&C Casting Couch, his rift with John Dennis and more.

Ep. 58: Mike Finkel, Author of True Story and The Stanger in the Woods

Kirk Minihane talks to the author of the best selling book "The Stranger in the Woods" Mike Finkel. It is a crazy story of a hermit leaving in Maine. Mike is also the author of "True Story" which was made into a movie staring Jonah Hill and James Franco. Mike talks about how the movie came out, his thoughts on Jonah Hill portraying him, and if it was true to the book.

Ep. 57: Garry W. Tallent, founding member of the E Street Band

Kirk Minihane, Springsteen super fan, is joined by Garry W. Tallent, founding member of the E Street Band. Kirk and Garry talk about what it's like on tour with Bruce, how the band goes about selecting songs for the tour, Garry's projects away from the band, and Garry's upcoming solo tour that will bring him to the New England area.

The Real K&C - Trenni on …

The Real K&C - Trenni on top, OTA videos & thoughtfully non-rhythmic 5-26-17

Ken Laird and Chris Curtis recap an action packed Friday edition of Kirk and Callahan

The Real K&C – Double birds, fart noises & picture days 5-24-17

Ken Laird and Chris Curtis are in after a K&C Wednesday show for the post-show gossip.

#DORK 15: Best Sports Video Games

Rich Keefe & Ryan Davey discuss the best sports video games of all-time. They break them down by sport and then ultimately crown a Top 5. Plus This Week in #DORK and the Pick of the Podcast.

Ep. 59: Kirk’s Mailbag

Ep. 59: Kirk’s Mailbag

Kirk Minihane is back after a brief hiatus and answers questions from listeners about various things including WEEI personalities, the state of the K&C Casting Couch, his rift with John Dennis and more.

More from this show

K&C - Casting Couch ratin…

K&C - Casting Couch ratings are revealed 5-26-17

The long awaited numbers for the Casting Couch are unveiled.

More from this show

K&C - The Celtics season …

K&C - The Celtics season is over; C's fans gave the team a standing ovation 5-26-17

Hour 1: Kirk, Gerry and Mut talked about the Celtics blowout loss.

More from this show

K&C - Pete Sheppard talke…

K&C - Mut loves Dining Pl…

News & Analysis