EditorsNote: Corrects rebound margin in 7th graf; Updated early second half surge in 8th graf
Luke Maye poured in 20 points as top-seeded North Carolina defeated ninth-seeded Washington 81-59 in the NCAA Tournament’s second round Sunday afternoon at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
The Tar Heels were in control for most of the Midwest Region game, with freshmen Nassir Little’s 20 points and Coby White’s 17 points also providing a lift.
North Carolina (29-6) will face fifth-seeded Auburn in the Sweet 16 on Friday night in Kansas City, Mo. The Tar Heels are back in the Sweet 16 after losing in the second round last year. They were in national championship games in 2016 and 2017, and they’re on a quest for a second title in three years.
Jaylen Nowell scored 12 points, while Noah Dickerson and Nahziah Carter each posted 10 points for ninth-seeded Washington (27-9), which was hurt by 4-for-10 shooting on free throws.
North Carolina made nine of 21 shots from 3-point range as part of 50.8 percent shooting overall. Washington figured to need to have an edge in perimeter scoring if it was to pull an upset, but the Huskies shot 9 for 29 from long range.
Maye, a senior, also had 14 rebounds, while Cameron Johnson added 13 points.
The Tar Heels finished with a rebounding advantage of 48-24.
North Carolina held a 54-36 edge less than six minutes into the second half.
North Carolina held a 41-33 halftime lead, but the Tar Heels had concerns about forward Garrison Brooks. He required stitches after he was struck in the mouth, with tooth damage also among the fallout even though he was back for the start of the second half.
Maye and White, who made four first-half 3-pointers, combined for 25 of North Carolina’s first-half points.
Bolstered by an early 11-2 run North Carolina led by as many as 14 points in the first half.
North Carolina is 3-0 all-time against the Huskies.
—Field Level Media