Alabama defeats North Carolina in Sweet 16 | Trending Viral hub


LOS ANGELES – Grant Nelson converted a go-ahead three-point play with 38 seconds left, and Alabama beat top-seeded North Carolina 89-87 on Thursday night to reach the Elite Eight of the AL Tournament. NCAA for the second time in school history.

Nelson finished with a season-high 24 points, 19 in the second half, and blocked RJ Davis’ attempt at a tying layup after giving Alabama the lead. Rylan Griffen added 19 points, tying his career high with five 3-pointers, and Aaron Estrada also scored 19 for the fourth-seeded Crimson Tide (24-11).

The Tide will face sixth-seeded Clemson on Saturday for a spot in the Final Four. The Tigers defeated second seed Arizona 77-72 in the first semifinal at Arena.

After Nelson blocked Davis’ shot with 25 seconds left, Davis dribbled furiously before missing a layup and the Tar Heels were called for a shot clock violation with 8 seconds left. They were forced to foul, sending Nelson to the line. He calmly made both to take an 89-85 lead.

Armando Bacot scored inside with 1 second left, leaving North Carolina trailing 89-87. The Tar Heels fouled Nelson again with 0.9 seconds left. He missed both attempts and time ran out for the blue blood Tar Heels, who own six national championships.

Bacot finished with 19 points and 12 rebounds in his final game for UNC (29-8). Cormac Ryan scored 17 points and made five 3-pointers and Davis scored 16 points.

At times, UNC coach Hubert Davis looked as if he were still playing for his alma mater, for whom he starred from 1988 to 1992 under Hall of Famer Dean Smith. Davis ran back and forth in his white sneakers, gesticulating, yelling and taking his glasses on and off as he lived every play his team played.

Alabama trailed 54-46 at halftime. Nelson and Sam Walters combined to score nine of Alabama’s first 13 points to take a 59-57 lead. The Tar Heels struggled early when big man Bacot picked up his third foul five minutes in, but they tied the score at 59 on a basket by Harrison Ingram.

Nelson, Estrada and Griffen teamed up to score 21 of Alabama’s next 23 points that produced an 82-77 lead. Nelson scored seven in a row, capped by a triple.

Carolina scored eight in a row, including six in a row from Davis, to take its final lead, 85-82.

The Tar Heels opened the game on a 19-9 run to take their biggest lead in a half that saw eight ties and seven lead changes.

Mark Sears burst into tears and scored nine points (he hit a 3-pointer and turned to blow a kiss to the crowd) to help the Tide lead 39-34. Sears finished with 18 points.

North Carolina regained control with a 20-7 run to finish the half ahead 54-46. Ryan and Ingram each hit two 3-pointers and Bacot made a jumper, slid around Mohamed Wague for a layup and scored on his own steal.

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