SAN ANTONIO — Before Carson Desrosiers' fifth foul, before James Michael McAdoo's game-winning free throw, before McAdoo grabbed the offensive rebound to seal the 79-77 win, there was Brice Johnson.
There were a mere 37 seconds left on the clock in a tied game when Providence's LaDontae Henton drove the lane and extended to lay in a shot.
The ball rolled off the rim and careened toward Johnson and Providence big man Carson Desrosiers as they jostled for position underneath the net.
Johnson blocked Desrosiers out on the left side of the goal just in time for the ball to drop into his hands. Johnson bobbled the ball, nearly letting it escape across the baseline and back into the Friars' possession.
But instead of committing perhaps the most egregious turnover of the night, Johnson corralled the ball and gave it up to Marcus Paige, setting up UNC's final possession in the 79-77 NCAA Tournament second-round win Friday night.
It was a hustle play that might get lost in highlight reels dominated by McAdoo's free throws and J.P. Tokoto's twinkle-toe moves, but it was key in overcoming a resurgent Providence team.
"I just had to get the ball," said Johnson, who finished with 16 points. "I was just trying to get us an extra possession, some way, some how. I was trying to block it and keep it in bounds.
"I just wanted to be able to give my teammates another chance to score and another chance to win."
It's only fitting that one of the most crucial plays of the game was a rebound.