After buzzer-beater to force OT, Heels beat No. 23 OSU 89-84

Dec 17, 2022, 1:07 AM | Updated: 4:58 pm

North Carolina forward Leaky Black (1) and Ohio State forward Brice Sensabaugh (10) fight for the b...

North Carolina forward Leaky Black (1) and Ohio State forward Brice Sensabaugh (10) fight for the ball during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in the CBS Sports Classic, Saturday, Dec. 17, 2022, in New York. The Tar Heels won 89-84 in overtime. (AP Photo/Julia Nikhinson)

(AP Photo/Julia Nikhinson)

NEW YORK (AP) — Down two with under 2 second left, North Carolina assistant Jeff Lebo drew up a play the Tar Heels hadn’t even run in practice — and it worked perfectly.

Pete Nance made a turnaround jumper at the buzzer to force overtime, RJ Davis iced a much-needed victory for scuffling North Carolina with two late free throws, and the Tar Heels beat No. 23 Ohio State 89-84 on Saturday in the CBS Sports Classic.

“That’s one of my go-to shots,” said Nance, a graduate transfer from Northwestern. “If I could pick two or three shots I had saved my life with it’d probably be that fadeaway. Been working on it kind of all my life. It was definitely a comfortable shot for me.”

Armando Bacot had 28 points and 15 rebounds and Caleb Love scored 22 for North Carolina (8-4). The Tar Heels are trying to right themselves after a four-game losing streak — all away from home — knocked the preseason No. 1 team out of the Top 25 two weeks ago.

They have now won three straight, none bigger than this one against the Buckeyes (7-3) at Madison Square Garden. It was the opener of a doubleheader, with No. 13 Kentucky facing No. 16 UCLA in the nightcap.

The Tar Heels trailed for most of Game 1 before Davis hit a 3 from the wing with 1:29 left to make it 75-74 North Carolina.

“Down the stretch we needed to be more locked in,” said Ohio State’s Justice Sueing, who scored 16 points.

Brice Sensabaugh made a jumper from inside the foul line with 2 seconds left to give the Buckeyes a 79-77 lead. North Carolina used a couple of timeouts to get the play it wanted, first completing a long inbounds pass to get the ball past halfcourt.

That left 1.2 seconds, just enough for Leaky Black to lob an inbounds pass from the sideline across the court to the 6-foot-11 Nance, who was drifting away from the pack to the far side of the basket.

With about a 5-inch advantage on the defender Sensabaugh, Nance felt comfortable he was going to get a clean look.

“I thought it was a great play,” Nance said.

Black, the former high school quarterback, said the pass was thrown more to a spot than to the receiver and it was better to risk overthrowing it than underthrowing and giving the defender a chance to bat it away.

“Just throwing that pass and him catching it like that was just, I don’t know, it still brings me chills, man,” Black said. “Beautiful play. Beautiful play.”

Sensabaugh, making his second straight start with Isaac Likekele out, had 22 points and eight rebounds for the Buckeyes. Likekele went home to Texas for personal reasons about two weeks ago, but was back with the team in New York.

The Buckeyes had not played since beating Rutgers on a buzzer-beating 3 nine days ago.

North Carolina’s Hubert Davis, who played the first four seasons of his 12-year NBA career with the New York Knicks, returned to the Garden as coach of his alma mater for the first time.

Davis said he told his team playing at MSG would be something they would remember for the rest of their lives.

“I love this place,” he said.

Davis received a welcome back message from former Knicks backcourt mate John Starks on the MSG videoboard, but his team continued to have trouble shooting 3s and getting consistent stops.

Ohio State led by as many as 14 in the first half as the Tar Heels were going 1 for 9 from 3-point range. Bacot pulled UNC within six, scoring 14 points and having his way in the paint.

But Sueing made a 3 at the first-half buzzer to put the Buckeyes up 44-35.

“In the first half, they punked us,” Bacot said.

Davis said he told his team at half that it wasn’t playing with enough intensity or physicality.

“I was direct,” Davis said. “And I did it at a higher volume.”

Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann took the blame for the Buckeyes not responding to the Tar Heels’ pressure defense in the second half.

“We didn’t come out with the necessary understanding of how the game is going to change,” Holtmann said.


North Carolina: RJ Davis, from White Plains, just north of the city, scored 21 points and made two free throws with 7 seconds left in OT to make it a two-possession game.

Ohio State: Leading scorer Zed Key had 11 points, four rebounds and four fouls as he spent much of his day leaning on Bacot. The Buckeyes also threw 6-foot-11 freshman Felix Okpara at the Tar Heels’ big man. Okpara fouled out in 12 minutes.


North Carolina: The Tar Heels get the other half of the Big Ten’s fiercest rivalry Wednesday when they face Michigan in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Ohio State: The Buckeyes return home to face Maine on Wednesday.


Follow Ralph D. Russo at https://twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP and listen at http://www.appodcasts.com


AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Associated Press

Ex-Packer Guion gets 1 year for domestic violence assault

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Former Green Bay Packers defensive tackle Letroy Guion was sentenced to one year in jail after pleading no contest in a domestic violence assault at his home last fall. Brown County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Walsh also ordered Guion on Tuesday to serve three years’ probation and complete a domestic […]

1 year ago

Joe Jarzynka...

Associated Press

Durant eager for Suns debut vs. Hornets after knee injury

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Kevin Durant has been through quite a bit during his 15-year NBA career — but joining a new team midway through the season is a new one for the 13-time All-Star. The 34-year-old Durant doesn’t seem all that worried. Durant makes his highly anticipated Phoenix Suns debut on Wednesday night against […]

1 year ago

FILE - Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores stands on the sideline during the second half of an N...

Associated Press

Judge: NFL coach can press discrimination claims in court

NEW YORK (AP) — NFL Coach Brian Flores can pursue some of his discrimination claims against the league and its teams in court rather than through arbitration, a judge ruled Wednesday. The written decision by Judge Valerie Caproni in Manhattan was issued months after lawyers for the league tried to get the lawsuit moved to […]

1 year ago

Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Alex Stalock cools off in the first period during an NHL hockey game ...

Associated Press

Kane trade reinforces hard reality of Blackhawks rebuild

CHICAGO (AP) — After days of speculation, the harsh reality of the Chicago Blackhawks’ situation was reinforced by one move in a flurry of transactions ahead of the NHL trade deadline. Showtime is over, at least in Chicago, and a seemingly bright future is, well, way off in the distance. The reverberations of Chicago’s decision […]

1 year ago

FILE -  Yves Jean-Bart, president of the Haitian Football Federation, wearing a protective face mas...

Associated Press

Disgraced ex-Haitian soccer president announces he’s back

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Haiti’s former soccer federation president whose lifetime ban from sport over sexual abuse allegations was overturned last month announced Wednesday that he is reclaiming his position. Yves Jean-Bart’s defiant announcement could lead to a standoff with FIFA, which already has appointed an emergency management committee to lead the Haitian Football Association […]

1 year ago

FILE - Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers walks off the field after an NFL football game against the ...

Associated Press

Rodgers says decision on future will come ‘soon enough’

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Aaron Rodgers says he will make a decision on his future “soon enough” as the four-time MVP quarterback ponders whether to play next season and if his future remains with the Green Bay Packers. Rodgers, 39, discussed his future while speaking on an episode of the “Aubrey Marcus Podcast” that […]

1 year ago

After buzzer-beater to force OT, Heels beat No. 23 OSU 89-84