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Wednesday September 20 2017
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North Carolina beats Syracuse in Final Four

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Top-seeded North Carolina defeated 10th-seeded Syracuse in the second game of the 2016 Final Four in Houston on Saturday night.

The combination of Brice Johnson and Joel Berry II led the charge as the East region’s top seeded North Carolina Tar Heels advanced to the NCAA championship game after an 83-66 win over the 10th seed Midwest region champion Syracuse Orange on Saturday night at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas.

North Carolina pulled ahead of the Orange on the strength of a 21-10 run over the final 8:14 of the first half to put them up 39-28 at halftime. After the Tar Heels extended their lead to 57-40 with 13:19 to go in the second half on a Berry layup, Syracuse went on a 10-0 run to cut the lead to 57-50 with 9:51 left on a Michael Richardson 3-point shot. UNC answered with a 3-pointer by Marcus Paige and a Johnson dunk to put the Tar Heels up by 12 and essentially put the Orange away. UNC seemed to figure out Syracuse’s defense as well as hit the offensive glass and hit open jump shots to make sure there would be no repeat of previous Syracuse comebacks throughout the tournament.

Johnson along with Justin Jackson led the Tar Heels in scoring with 16 apiece. Kennedy Meeks (15) and Paige (13) also scored in double figures for UNC. Johnson had nine rebound and Berry had 10 assists to lead the Tar Heels. Trevor Cooney led Syracuse with 22 points on 4 for 8 shooting from deep to go along with three steals. Richardson (17) and Michael Gbinije (12) also scored in double figures.

North Carolina out rebounded Syracuse (43-31) as well as shot better from the floor (53.8% to 40.9%). The Tar Heels will move on to face the Villanova Wildcats in Monday’s championship game. The Wildcats defeated the Oklahoma Sooners 95-51 earlier on Saturday evening. The game will air on TBS starting at 9:19 p.m.

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