Theo Pinson scored 25 points as No. 12 North Carolina overcame a horrendous start and a double-digit deficit to defeat No. 24 Miami 82-65 in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament quarterfinals Thursday night at the Barclays Center in New York, avenging a loss from last week.
Cameron Johnson supplied 13 points, while Joel Berry II and Kenny Williams each added 11 points for the Tar Heels, who scored the game’s final 13 points. Pinson also had 11 rebounds.
Sixth-seeded North Carolina meets fifth-ranked Duke, which is the tournament’s No. 2 seed, in Friday night’s second semifinal. Those teams also met in last year’s semifinal round. Duke topped Notre Dame 88-70 in an earlier quarterfinal.
Ja’Quan Newton’s 17 points and Anthony Lawrence II’s 12 points paced third-seeded Miami, which scored the game’s first 14 points.
The Tar Heels overcame All-ACC forward Luke Maye’s 1-for-15 shooting, though he grabbed 13 rebounds.
North Carolina had a slight lead for a period in the second-half before Pinson hit a pair of 3-pointers down the stretch. Pinson’s dunk gave the Tar Heels a 71-65 edge with about 3:40 to play to begin a game-ending 13-0 run.
The matchup came just nine days after Newton’s 3-pointer at the buzzer stunned North Carolina, spoiling Senior Night in Chapel Hill.
These teams finished in a four-way tie for third place, but Miami ended up with the better seed.
North Carolina took a 32-31 halftime lead when Johnson made three free throws with 0.4 seconds left when he was fouled attempting a heave from the other side of halfcourt.
Miami led 14-0 before North Carolina’s first points came on reserve guard Seventh Woods’ three-point play with 12:51 left in the half. By then, coach Roy
Williams had turned to five reserves. The Tar Heels missed their first 13 shots.
It was almost 9½ minutes before a North Carolina starter scored.
Yet North Carolina took a lead for the first time at 19-18.
Neither team scored for nearly the first 3½ minutes before Chris Lykes of Miami converted on a layup.
—Field Level Media