PHILADELPHIA ( Associated Press) — North Carolina crushed all hopes of a March Madness miracle early Sunday, scoring 20 points and 22 rebounds from Armando Bacot in a wire-to-wire 69-49 of 15th seed St. Peter’s.
The eighth-seeded Tar Heels (28–9) made their record 21st Final Four, and next on their list is none other than the staunch Duke and its soon-to-retire coach, Mike Krzyzewski.
Next Saturday in New Orleans will mark the first Final Four meeting — the first NCAA Tournament meeting, in fact — amid the arrival of Tobacco Road, whose campuses are separated by 11 miles.
While the winding road to Coach Kay’s retirement has been a beauty to watch this March, nothing has captured more imaginations than a run by underdog St. The full basketball budget for this horror group in Jersey City, New Jersey is $1.6 million—or nearly $400,000 less than Hubert Davis, the first-year coach of the Tar Heels, who sobbed as he covered his players after the buzzer, a builds in a year.
Two nights earlier, Peacock (21-12) defeated Purdue to become the first 15 seeds to advance to the Elite Eight. They are hardly the first team to see grand plans undone by one of the country’s top-line power programs.
It quickly got ugly.
After missing a free throw by Carolina’s Leaky Black in 2 1/2 minutes, Bakot took the lead for an aggressive rebound and an easy putback. This gave Carolina a 7-0 lead. In his three tournament victories over Kentucky, Murray State and Purdue, St. Peter’s was never more than six behind.
Peacock, whose 10-game winning streak came to an end, rocked the ball well and looked pretty good in the first 10 minutes. Some shots went down halfway and the rim was out. Others bounced twice on the iron, but did not fall. They trailed 21-7 after losing their first six shots and 16 of their first 19.
Late in the first half, Daryl Banks III swooped in in what looked like a windmill jam. It was rejected – in front of the rim. This made Peacock 5 for 27 on the night, and when Bacot dipped into the next possession, North Carolina led 36-15.
Fauseni Dramé led St Peter’s with 12 points and Casey Nedefoe with 10 points.
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