Providence’s Bryce Cotton scored a career-high 36 points and made one dazzling shot after another down the stretch. But he also fumbled a long rebound in the final moments, robbing the Friars of a chance for a last-second miracle.
Had North Carolina (24-9) lost, it would’ve been the first time since 1979 the Tar Heels and rival Duke lost on the same day of the tournament.
The Blue Devils fell earlier to 14th-seeded Mercer, and the Friars nearly handed North Carolina a similar stunner.
Marcus Paige led North Carolina with 19 points.
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