UNC punches ticket to Sweet 16 with win over Michigan State

The North Carolina Tar Heels are heading to Los Angeles and the Sweet 16.

With Michigan State jumping out to an early lead, North Carolina had to lock in and figure things out. They did just that, using a big second half to get past Michigan State 85-69 in the round of 32 in Charlotte.

North Carolina used a 23-3 run in the first half after trailing by as many as 12 to the Spartans. Hubert Davis challenged his team to lock in and stop the Spartans on the defensive end. They did just that.

That 23-3 run featured some big three-pointers and lockdown defense as the Tar Heels took a 40-31 lead into the break. While Michigan State fought back to cut the lead to two in the second half at 48-46, the Tar Heels outscored the Spartans 37-23 over the final 15 or so minutes to earn the win.

The effort was led by four starters finishing in double-digit points with RJ Davis leading the way with 20. Armando Bacot had 18 while Harrison Ingram had 17 and Cormac Ryan had 14.

When UNC needed to lock in on the defensive end, they did just that as they limited the Spartans to tough shots and rebounded the ball to take away any second chances.

The Tar Heels also found their shot from the three-point line, going 10-of-26 from that area compared to the 6-of-16 from the Spartans.

Player of the Game

I’m going to give this to Armando Bacot. He got an early foul just 41 seconds into the game but managed to avoid foul trouble. He gave UNC some big baskets late in the game, helping them keep the lead.

What’s next?

The Tar Heels are heading to Los Angeles for the Sweet 16 and will play the winner of Sunday’s matchup between Grand Canyon and Alabama.

Story originally appeared on Tarheels Wire