COLUMBUS, OHIO — For the North Carolina men’s basketball team, other wins may have been more exciting, but few have been as sweet.
After leading 41-33, but coughing it up 10 times in the first half, the No. 1 seeded Tar Heels (29-6) cleaned up their act after the break, handling No. 9 seed Washington, 81-59, in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
The Tar Heels turned it over just five times in the second half, and used a 13-3 run to start the period to separate themselves against the Huskies and earn a spot in the Sweet 16.
“They were getting a lot of points off of turnovers, and we just had to get stops,” junior guard Brandon Robinson said. “I think that’s definitely the keys to the game for us. When we stop turning the ball over, lock in on defense, play with a little bit more toughness, we play better.”
The Tar Heels shot efficiently before and after halftime – 16-31 in the first half, 16-32 in the second – so the simple matter of taking care of the ball made a big difference in giving North Carolina separation.