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North Carolina edges Washington in frantic finish

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- North Carolina's Roy Williams woke up Sunday morning feeling ill.

The Hall of Fame coach then had to endure one stomach-turning play after another in a dramatic and confusing finish that left the Tar Heels in a familiar spot: the NCAA Tournament's round of 16.

Tyler Zeller scored 23 points, Harrison Barnes added 22 and North Carolina survived a closing minute that included numerous questionable calls to beat Washington, 86-83, in the East region. The Tar Heels are into the second weekend for a record 24th time.

"I told the kids to take care of the old man and they did a good job," Williams said.

Rallying from deficits of 11 points in the first half and five in the second, the second-seeded Tar Heels (28-7) went ahead for good on Barnes' three-pointer with 4:06 left.

But they needed two late free throws from Dexter Strickland and two defensive stops in the final second to advance to play Marquette on Friday in Newark, N.J.

Terrence Ross scored 19 points and Matthew Bryan-Amaning added 14 for the seventh-seeded Huskies (24-11), who couldn't overcome a subpar game from star guard Isaiah Thomas and a hostile crowd to pull the upset in a game full of entertaining plays and mental miscues.

"All of our guys fought and did so many things right that could have enabled us to win the ballgame," Huskies coach Lorenzo Romar said, "but we didn't get it done."

Washington, which came in with as many NCAA Tournament wins (18) as North Carolina has Final Four appearances, nearly pulled off a dramatic comeback in a virtual road game 2,800 miles from home.

Washington got within 84-83 on Ross' three-pointer with 17.3 seconds left before North Carolina's Kendall Marshall -- who set a school NCAA Tournament record with 14 assists -- missed the front end of a one-and-one at the foul line.

Washington's Venoy Overton then missed a runner in the lane, but the ball bounced off North Carolina and out of bounds with 7.4 seconds left. On the inbound play, 6-foot-10 John Henson knocked away Justin Holiday's pass under the basket and the ball landed in Strickland's hands, and he hit two free throws with 5.4 seconds left.

Moments later, Overton launched a premature halfcourt shot with about 3 seconds remaining that fell well short.

Instead of letting the errant shot go out of bounds, Henson touched the ball on the way down to give the Huskies yet another chance. The ball went to Thomas, who missed from the corner.

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