Final OT

(13) Ohio 65

(29-8, 11-5 MAC)

(1) North Carolina 73

(32-5, 14-2 ACC)

    Coverage: TBS

    7:47 PM ET, March 23, 2012

    Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis, Missouri

    1 2 OT T
    #13OHIO 22 41 265
    #1UNC 29 34 1073

    Top Performers

    Ohio: W. Offutt 26 Pts, 4 Reb, 2 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk

    North Carolina: T. Zeller 20 Pts, 22 Reb, 4 Blk

    Ohio takes UNC to overtime before Tar Heels prevail

    Associated Press

    ST. LOUIS -- The last of the little guys gave North Carolina a massive scare.

    Harrison Barnes scored five of his 12 points in overtime and the top-seeded Tar Heels escaped a huge upset with a 73-65 victory over No. 13 seed Ohio on Friday night in the Midwest Regional semifinals.

    Ohio, trying to become the first team seeded 13th or worse to make the regional finals since the NCAA tournament expanded in 1985, had a chance to convert a three-point play that would have given the Bobcats the lead with 25 seconds left in regulation. Walter Offutt missed from the line, however, and Ohio went 0 for 6 from the field in the first overtime of this year's tournament.

    "One free throw away," Offutt said. "As a leader on this team, I take responsibility that I've got to hit that free throw. ... It just feels terrible to kind of let my team down in that sort of way."

    Tyler Zeller finished with 20 points and a career-high 22 rebounds for North Carolina, which sorely missed injured point guard Kendall Marshall. The Tar Heels had three players with double-doubles for the first time in an NCAA tournament game: Reggie Bullock had 17 points and 10 boards, and John Henson had 14 points and 10 rebounds.

    Freshman guard Stilman White was an impressive fill-in for Marshall, dishing out six assists without a single turnover and playing 32 minutes -- almost three times his previous high.

    "We feel like we got away with one," Zeller said. "Ohio played the better game, they hit a lot of shots. I think we just were able to make a lot of plays at the end that made us capable of pulling it out."

    Offutt led the Bobcats (29-8) with 26 points, including 18 from 3-point range, and Nick Kellogg added 14. But D.J. Cooper, who averaged 20 points in Ohio's first two tournament games, finished with just 10 on 3-of-20 shooting.

    "I've been getting those same shots all tournament," Cooper said. "I've been making them, and tonight I just didn't get the job done."

    North Carolina (32-5), which has won 11 straight in the regional semifinals, plays Kansas on Sunday afternoon.

    "It means a heck of a lot," coach Roy Williams said moments after his team escaped, "but we've got to play better than we did today."

    That's for sure -- especially since the Tar Heels are playing without Marshall, perhaps their most irreplaceable player and the steadying hand behind their fast-paced attack. The left-handed guard broke his right wrist Sunday when he was fouled on a drive against Creighton. He had surgery Monday to put a screw in the wrist and got his cast off Wednesday.

    Though Marshall said the wrist is improving, he didn't even dress Friday night, sitting on the bench in a suit.

    "He still hasn't done anything," Williams said when asked about the prospects of Marshall returning Sunday. "But North Carolina's going to play on Sunday. We're happy about that."

    Barnes was dismal, flirting with a season low in scoring as he went 3 for 16 while missing from inside, outside and everywhere in between. But his teammates weren't much better, turning the ball over a season-high 24 times and shooting just 40 percent, six percentage points below their average.

    Worse, they could never get a handle on the smaller, quicker Bobcats.

    "They don't play like a 13-seed," Henson said. "It was a great game."

    After trailing by as much as 15 in the first half, Ohio got hot from long range and gave the Tar Heels almost more than they could handle. Ohio, a 10½-point underdog, was 8 of 13 from 3-point range in the second half, with Offutt doing most of the damage. He made a 3-pointer to start a 14-5 run and hit two more during the stretch, which pulled the Bobcats to 42-41 with 10:23 to play.

    After Zeller's layup and a dunk by James Michael McAdoo, Cooper hit his only 3 of the game. Kellogg came right back with another to give Ohio its first lead, 47-46, with 8:28 to play, and the Ohio faithful -- plus all the new fans the Bobcats picked up -- went into a frenzy.

    The teams traded leads, neither able to put the other away. When Barnes missed badly on a 3 with 1:17 to play, the crowd taunted him with chants of "Air-ball! Air-ball!" Williams could be heard yelling "One stop!" at his team, and the Tar Heels got it when Cooper missed a jumper at the other end.

    Bullock then drilled a 3 to give North Carolina a 63-61 lead with 39 seconds left, but Offutt -- who else? -- scored on an off-balance drive and drew a foul from White. Offutt's foul shot was way left, the only free throw the Bobcats missed in eight attempts, and Zeller grabbed the rebound.

    "It's just like him to take responsibility for the loss because that's who he is," Bobcats coach John Groce said of his senior, a transfer from Ohio State by way of Wright State. "But the reality of it is, that doesn't fall on him. There's so many plays during the game that make up the game in a 45-minute game, and if anybody deserved to make that free throw, it's him. It just didn't go in."

    The Tar Heels worked the shot clock down to the very last seconds, but Barnes lost the ball and Offutt came up with it. He flipped the ball to Cooper, who raced to midcourt and launched a prayer. It caromed off the rim, sending the game into overtime.

    Kellogg's father, Clark, calling the games in Atlanta for CBS, smiled as he watched the final plays.

    "Overtime," he said, clapping.

    But the Bobcats had nothing left. Bullock opened the extra period with a 3 and Barnes came right back with a jumper. After Kellogg made a pair of free throws to cut it to 68-65, Barnes made a pair of his own and Ohio could never get any closer.

    "Awful proud of our guys for the way that they fought," Groce said. "But as I told them in the locker room, there's nothing I can say to them at this point that's going to take away the sting of getting beat in that one. They've got a lot of pride and they believed all year that we could compete and beat anybody that we played. That was no different heading into tonight's game."

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 65 73
    FG Made-Attempted 23-71 (.324) 26-65 (.400)
    3P Made-Attempted 12-32 (.375) 7-22 (.318)
    FT Made-Attempted 7-8 (.875) 14-24 (.583)
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 22 (0/0) 13 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 4 15


    » Mar 23, 2012 @UNC 73, OHIO 65Recap

    Research Notes

    Harrison Barnes attempted one of his 16 shots from inside the paint and did not score any paint points Friday against Ohio. In North Carolina's first two games of the 2012 Men's Basketball Championship, Barnes attempted 16 of his 31 shots (51.6 percent) from inside the paint and scored 16 paint points.
    Tyler Zeller had nine second-chance points on Friday, more than the entire Ohio team. In the first two games of the 2012 Men's Basketball Championship Zeller had six offensive rebounds and four second-chance points combined.
    North Carolina outscored Ohio 10-2 in OT, as the Bobcats missed all 6 of their shots, including 4 from beyond the arc.
    Tyler Zeller had 20 points, 22 rebounds vs Ohio. Zeller is just the 4th player in the last 30 seasons with 20 points and 20 rebounds in a Men's Basketball Championship game and the 1st since Tim Duncan in 1997.
    Ohio's D.J. Cooper just missed out on the game-winner in regulation for Ohio and he went 3-20 from the field in the loss vs UNC. That .150 shooting percentage from the floor is among the worst performances in the shot-clock era of the NCAA tournament. The only one worse? LMU's Bo Kimble in 1988 - in a 3-for-21 performance that also happened to come in a loss against North Carolina. Ohio finished the season 1-5 when Cooper shoots at least 17 shots (Ohio was 28-3 in all other games).

    ESPN Stats & Information