The Tar Heels got a balanced offensive attack and kept it rolling through both halves to move into the Elite Eight with a 101-86 win over Indiana.
Here's the thing about Marcus Paige. Despite the fact he had been in a prolonged shooting slump going back to early January, there were still flashes and existed the possibility he could start hitting his shot again. That night was tonight. Paige scored 12 of UNC's first 14 points going 4-for-4 three to ignite the offense and stake the Tar Heels to an early 14-8 lead. Indiana started to find some traction but not nearly enough as Paige's fifth made basket in five attempts put the Tar Heels up 25-17 around the midway point of the half.
While the offense was rolling, UNC's defense struggled a bit. Indiana managed an offensive rebounding rate over 50% to keep the Hoosiers from getting completely blown out. After Paige's flurry and his second foul of the half bringing back memories of MIchael Jordan's two fouls in 1984, Justin Jackson put took over. The sophomore made a pair of three and scored 13 points in the first half to keep the offense on track.. With Paige out, Nate Britt stepped up to score seven points. The scoring from that trio and six points from Kennedy Meeks compensated for Brice Johnson going 1-for-4 and Joel Berry tallying just one point. UNC's offensive efficiency was 152.9 in the first half but Indiana was at 121.3 and used a late three to cut the lead to 52-41 at the break.
The nightmare scenario for UNC would have been a couple of empty possessions and Indiana hitting threes to rcut into the lead. The latter of that actually happened with Troy Williams nailing a trio of three pointers. UNC didn't oblige on the other end with a significant scoring drought. Still Williams' three point play with 14:24 left cut the Tar Heel lead to 10 with 14:24 left. That was as close as Indiana would get. UNC needed a big shot and Joel Berry on cue provided it hitting a three. Brice Johnson then went to work with six of UNC's next ten points followed by five point flurry from Berry to run the lead to 20 at the ten minute mark.
Indiana continued to hit shots but it simply didn't matter. UNC's offense was rolling with an offensive efficiency of 146.0 for the game. That was more than enough to deal with Indiana's OE of 125.2.
Five Tar Heels hit double figures led by Marcus Paige's 22 points and six three pointers. Brice Johnson had 20 points and 10 rebounds, his school record tying 22nd double-double of the season. Kennedy Meeks had 15 points and nine rebounds while Joel Berry and Justin Jackson each scored 14 points. For the game UNC was 11-20 from three and 26-33 at the free throw line.
With the win UNC moves into the East Regional Final for a third meeting this season against Notre Dame for a ticket to the Final Four in Houston.