GREENVILLE, S.C. — In a game that looked like the end of its season, the North Carolina men's basketball team rallied against Arkansas to muster a 72-65 win on Sunday and advance to the Sweet 16.
Both teams pushed the pace from the outset, but the top-seeded Tar Heels (29-7) raced out to the early lead. Justin Jackson opened the game with a 3-pointer — breaking the UNC single-season record — and Joel Berry followed with another to spark a 10-2 run over the No. 8 seed Razorbacks (26-10).
Arkansas cut the lead to five on a 3-pointer from leading scorer Dusty Hannahs with 10:59 left in the first half. But North Carolina's harassing perimeter defense and physical play inside stifled the Razorback attack, and the Tar Heels ripped off a 10-0 run to take a 26-11 lead midway through the period.
Then the game got ugly. Both teams stalled offensively during a six-minute stretch littered with missed shots and turnovers. But the Razorbacks found their spark after drawing a foul on a 3-point shot, going on a 16-6 run to enter the half trailing 38-33.
The rally continued after the break for the Razorbacks, whose full-court press forced issues for the normally sure-handed Tar Heels. Arkansas seized the lead seven minutes into the second half, and UNC's offense disappeared down the stretch as leading scorers Justin Jackson and Joel Berry struggled to find their shot.