UNC calls up spirited effort, beats Ohio State in OT

NEW YORK — North Carolina is no longer looking for a meaningful non-conference win over a major opponent. The Tar Heels called up a spirited effort and beat 23rd-ranked Ohio State 89-84 in overtime on Saturday afternoon at the CBS Sports Classic at Madison Square Garden, with Pete Nance playing the hero at the buzzer. regulations to breathe new life into UNC in the extra period. .

Ohio State’s Brice Sensabaugh hit a jumper over Leaky Black in the lane to put the Buckeyes up 79-77 with two seconds remaining in regulation. That had the look of the game-winning bucket and denial of UNC’s inspired second-half rally from an 11-point deficit.

But Nance came to the rescue, nailing the tying jumper over Sensabaugh to send the game into overtime. In an out-of-bounds side with 1.2 seconds remaining, Black sent the cross ball to Nance, who received the shot back just fractions of a second before the buzzer.

And the people who packed this famous building were on their feet, all awake, enjoying what had the feel of an NCAA Tournament matchup on the second weekend of the Big Dance.

UNC rallied from down 10 at 68-58 in the final 6½ minutes of regulation. Armando Bacot’s 28 points and 15 rebounds propelled the Tar Heels (8-4). Caleb Love had 22 points, seven assists and four rebounds, and RJ Davis had 21 points, eight rebounds and four assists. Nance finished with eight points and 10 rebounds. Davis hit a 3-pointer coming back from the dribble to put UNC ahead 75-74 with 1:29 left in regulation, the Tar Heels’ first lead since 14-12 in the game’s first 7½ minutes, and one of many. critical moments. for the stretch.

Rookie Sensabaugh had 22 points and eight rebounds for Ohio State (7-3). Bruce Thornton had 17 points, five rebounds and five assists, and Justice Sueing had 16 points and nine rebounds. The Buckeyes built a 14-point lead in the first half and an 11-point lead in the second half.

Ohio State led 44-35 at halftime, following a tough end to the first half for North Carolina forward Puff Johnson. Sueing used his body and scored on Johnson in lane in the final 30 seconds. Then, with precious seconds remaining, Sueing simply got up from the dribble to drill a three-pointer over the retiring Johnson.

UNC went on an 11-1 run early to lead 13-8. Later in the first half, the Buckeyes took a 34-20 lead, going on an 18-2 burst during part of that stretch.

Carolina blue in the garden

A decidedly pro-UNC crowd cheered on the Tar Heels here at Madison Square Garden. It was a big-city atmosphere with a packed building that felt similar to what UNC fueled in Philadelphia last season during the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight rounds of the NCAA Tournament.

Early in the second half, Bacot sank a crafty left-handed pitch from Love around an Ohio State defender, and Buckeyes coach Chris Holtmann called timeout with the Tar Heels in a 10-2 run coming off the half. weather. That energized moment had Bacot, Leaky Black and Pete Nance flexing and whooping along with the enthusiastic UNC fans.

Armando Bacot settles

It was an eventful first half for Bacot, who went to the bench 72 seconds into the game after committing his first foul, and then stayed there for a full six minutes of playing time as coach Hubert Davis brought in Puff Johnson, Tyler Nickel, Seth Trimble and Dontrez Styles from the bench at the start.

Bacot didn’t score until 10:45 of the first half, but he rallied from that mistimed start to inject 10 straight points in a quick 2:16 stretch, pulling UNC within 36-30 of Ohio State’s lead. and turning on Tar Heels fans here in the famous arena.

Bacot finished the first half with 16 points and five rebounds. For his part, Key had four points and two rebounds at halftime.

Next on the calendar

North Carolina meets another Big Ten opponent Michigan to conclude the non-conference portion of the regular season schedule. It’s a Wednesday night showdown at the Jumpman Invitational at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte.

The Tar Heels topped Michigan 72-51 last December, a blowout at the Smith Center in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.

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