March 18, 2018 / 11:51 PM / 4 months ago

Texas A&M blows out defending champion North Carolina

EditorsNote: updates Starks’ point total in second graf

Texas A&M tore apart defending national champion North Carolina from all angles in a stunning 86-65 romp in the NCAA Tournament’s second round Sunday at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte, N.C.

TJ Starks pumped in 21 points, Tyler Davis had 18 points, DJ Hogg posted 14 points and Admon Gilder had 12 for the seventh-seeded Aggies. Robert Williams pulled in 13 rebounds.

Texas A&M (22-12) will play third-seeded Michigan on Thursday night in the Sweet 16 round of the West Region in Los Angeles.

Second-seeded North Carolina, which played in the past two national championship games, had never lost an NCAA Tournament game in Charlotte in 12 previous outings. The Tar Heels (26-11) dropped to 34-2 in NCAA Tournament games in their home state.

This outcome came on the same court where, just two days before, the tournament’s all-time stunner happened when Maryland-Baltimore County took out Virginia.

This result wasn’t as shocking, but it was just as thorough a whipping.

Senior guard Joel Berry II, who was the Most Outstanding Player in last year’s Final Four, poured in 21 points for North Carolina. Luke Maye added 13 points and 11 rebounds in the last game of his junior season.

They were both on the bench for the final minute as North Carolina coach Roy Williams put in seldom-used reserves. It was the largest margin of defeat for the veteran coach in an NCAA Tournament game.

The Tar Heels shot 6-for-31 on 3-point attempts, with Berry going 2-for-10 from long range in his final college game.

North Carolina, which played on four consecutive nights in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament earlier this month, didn’t have enough to keep up with the Aggies. Texas A&M held a 24-point less than seven minutes into the second half.

North Carolina missed 13 consecutive 3-point attempts in a span bridging the two halves until Maye’s long ball with about 15:35 cut the deficit to 53-36.

However, most of the next few minutes consisted of North Carolina threatening to make a move only to have the Aggies converting at the other end, often on fast breaks.

Texas A&M held a 42-28 halftime lead, silencing the huge partisan North Carolina crowd for stretches. The Aggies made 50 percent of their first-half shots while North Carolina shot 33.3 percent from the field (including 1-for-13 on 3-point tries).

Earlier, it went well for the Tar Heels, who made eight of their first 10 shots from the field and built a 20-13 lead.

A 15-0 run for Texas A&M altered the game’s course as North Carolina went more than six minutes without scoring.

—Field Level Media

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