Mar 19, 2017; Greenville, SC, USA; Arkansas Razorbacks guard Manuale Watkins (21) reacts after loosing to the North Carolina Tar Heels in the second round of the 2017 NCAA Tournament at Bon Secours Wellness Arena. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Arkansas Can’t Put Away Tar Heels in Second Round

Things were looking up for Arkansas late in the second half. The Razorbacks were up 65-60 on number one seed North Carolina with three minutes remaining. Arkansas came back after being down seventeen point in first half. It looked as if the eighth seeded Razorbacks were going to bust the brackets of millions and upset the heavily favored Tar Heels.

Then, the game took a turn for the worse for the Razorbacks. North Carolina finished the game on a 12-0 run in the final three minutes to propel them to a 72-65 win. Tar Heels Head Coach Roy Williams said that he thought the team felt “lucky,” after Arkansas came back in the second half.

Different Ways of Finishing

The experienced Tar Heel team didn’t panic when they were down five with just minutes remaining. Actually, the tournament tested North Carolina team rose to the occasion. The Tar Heels finished the game by scoring on six of their final seven possessions, which totaled in the momentous 12-0 run. The Razorbacks, however, couldn’t catch a break in crunch time. Arkansas went cold to end the game, not being able to convert on their final possessions. Even with the cold stretch, Arkansas had opportunities to gain ground on the Tar Heels. Arkansas guard Anton Beard missed a three pointer with about 15 seconds left that would have tied the game at 68. Then, with 25.2 seconds left, Arkansas forward Moses Kingsley missed two huge free throws, which would have brought the Razorbacks within one.

Flop or Block?

The game was not without a questionable call in the final moments of the game. The Tar Heels held a one point lead with 48.8 seconds remaining. North Carolina guard Joel Berry II, who has battling an injured ankle, made his drive to the basket on Arkansas guard Daryl Macon. While Berry was driving, Macon collapsed on the floor. There was no call by the official. Berry missed the floater, but was bailed out by Tar Heels forward Kennedy Meeks, who tipped in the miss to put the Tar Heels up by three with 44.2 remaining and give the Tar Heels a slight edge. It appeared on the play that Berry shoved Macon, but Macon oversold the shove, which prompted the no call.

What’s Next?

With the win, the Tar Heels advance to the Sweet 16 in Memphis. There, they’ll take on the fourth seed Butler Bulldogs. Butler is coming off a 74-65 win over twelve seed Middle Tennessee State on Saturday. The Sweet 16 match-up between the Bulldogs and Tar Heels will take place Friday at FedEx Forum with tip off at 7:09 p.m.

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