North Carolina Tar Heels fans certainly considered the possibility of being upset by the Ohio Bobcats after integral point guard Kendall Marshall was lost to a broken wrist, and their worst fears almost came to fruition on Friday night in St. Louis. But the Tar Heels dominated the Bobcats in overtime, outscoring them 10-2 in the process of securing a 73-65 victory and thus advancing to the Elite Eight to take on the winner of the game between the Kansas Jayhawks and North Carolina State Wolfpack.
The Tar Heels often looked lost on offense, and with back up point guard Stillman White not doing much more than swinging the ball around the perimeter, North Carolina was essentially playing 4-5 on offense for most of the night. Much of the offensive burden fell on the shoulders small forward Harrison Barnes to create from the perimeter, but he only made three of his 16 shots from the field, finishing with 12 points and seven rebounds.
North Carolina's reliance on Barnes despite his struggles illustrated how reliant they were on Marshall to initiate the offense. Aside from Barnes, the rest of North Carolina's core turned in stellar games. Tyler Zeller led the Tar Heels with 20 points on 8-14 shooting, but that was more than overshadowed by his 23 rebounds, which was four off of Ohio's entire total as a team. North Carolina also received a huge boost from unsung guard Reggie Bullock, who made five of his ten three point attempts, finishing with 17 points and ten rebounds.
The Bobcats stuck in the game thanks largely to their three-point shooting, with Nick Kellogg and Walter Offutt combining to make 10 of 15 threes. It was Offutt who saved Ohio for most of the game, scoring 26 points on 10-18 shooting on a night in which Bobcats star D.J. Cooper shot a ghastly 3-20 from the field.
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