Harrison Barnes struggles in North Carolina’s overtime victory

Chris Chase

Let's start with the positives: Should he choose to go pro, Harrison Barnes will still be a top-three pick in June's NBA draft. And his North Carolina Tar Heels hung on to survive a scare from upset-minded Ohio on Friday night and will be playing later this weekend for a chance to go to the Final Four.

Those are the only two bright sides of Harrison Barnes' nightmarish Sweet 16 performance. Carolina's super sophomore turned the ball over on the first play of the game and his woes continued from there. He shot 3-17 from the floor, was a step slow on defense and looked lost without injured point guard Kendall Marshall.

[Related: Heels in Elite Eight — but also in the danger zone]

The final 80 seconds of regulation was a microcosm of Barnes' night. He airballed a go-ahead 3-point attempt with 1:20 left, then was shut down on a potential game-winner as the clock ran out.

Marshall's absence undoubtedly played a role in Barnes' rough evening. During his up-and-down freshman season, Barnes struggled when Larry Drew III was in the lineup. It wasn't until Marshall entered the starting lineup that Barnes was able to live up to the potential that made him a preseason All-American before he ever stepped on a college court.

Overtime was kinder to Barnes. He made an early jump shot, then hit two free throws after Ohio cut the lead to three.

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