North Carolina returns to Sweet 16, beats Washington 81-59

Big Tournament
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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Luke Maye and Nassir Little each scored 20 points and top-seeded North Carolina breezed into the Sweet 16, beating Washington 81-59 Sunday.

The Tar Heels (29-6) never trailed and moved on to face fifth-seeded Auburn on Friday in a Midwest Regional semifinal.

Last year, one season removed from its national championship, North Carolina was eliminated in the second round in a rout by Texas A&M. The Tar Heels were not going to let it happen again.

Maye added 14 rebounds for North Carolina, a No. 1 seed for a record 17th time.

The Tar Heels committed 10 turnovers in the first half, and led by eight points at the break. But they bolted out in the second half, put together a 13-0 run over 5 minutes and pulled away.

Pac-12 player of the year Jaylen Nowell paced Washington (28-8) with 12 points.

North Carolina forward Garrison Brooks took an elbow to the mouth in the first half that knocked out one tooth, chipped another and required stitches to close his cut lip. He returned to start the second half.

North Carolina guard Kenny Williams exited early in the second half grasping his left hamstring, but he also returned later in the half and seemed to be OK.

BIG PICTURE

Washington: The Huskies have come a long way after going 9-22 two years ago before longtime Syracuse assistant Mike Hopkins took over. They beat No. 9 seed Utah State in the first round but were never seriously in the game against North Carolina.

North Carolina: The Tar Heels rolled to a 41-33 lead at halftime behind the 3-point shooting of freshman Coby White — he 4 for 5 from beyond the arc in the half — and kept the pressure on.

UP NEXT

North Carolina moves into the Sweet 16 in Kansas City, Missouri.

Click here for more coverage from the Big Tournament.

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