UNC Basketball logoUNC Basketball

UNC vs. Texas Southern: Score and Twitter Reaction from March Madness 2017

North Carolina's Justin Jackson (44) reacts after making a three-point basket against Texas Southern during the first half in a first-round game of the NCAA men's college basketball tournament in Greenville, S.C., Friday, March 17, 2017. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
Chuck Burton/Associated Press
Chris RolingFeatured ColumnistMarch 17, 2017

Eyes trained on a title after last year's runner-up finish, No. 1 North Carolina blew past No. 16 Texas Southern 103-64 in Friday's South Region matchup at Bon Secours Wellness Arena, Greenville, South Carolina.

Justin Jackson led the way for the Tar Heels with 21 points on a 5-of-8 effort from deep, shooting himself out of a slump from range (7-of-31 over last four games) as North Carolina prepped for the next round by breaking the 100-point mark for the seventh time this year.

SWAC Player of the Year Zach Lofton couldn't match, scoring nine points on 2-of-11 shooting as the Tigers were overwhelmed with the size and physicality of the Tar Heels, shooting 36.7 percent from the floor. Kevin Scott attempted to compensate, scoring 19 on a 6-of-14 effort.

Isaiah Hicks scored the game's first basket six seconds into regulation and away the Tar Heels went, running out to a 52-27 lead at the half.

In the early going, Texas Southern put up a fight, grabbing the lead twice as Scott (9.7 points per game during the regular season) scored eight of the Tigers' first 10 points.

The Tigers even got on the board in highlight-reel fashion before the wheels came off the ride:

Momentum enjoyed by the Tigers was short-lived, as the 10-10 tie quickly spun into a blowout.

But Texas Southern didn't have the depth to keep running full steam ahead. The Tigers lost their third-leading scorer and 2015 SWAC Player of the Year when Derrick Griffin decided to leave the team and focus on his NFL career.

The Tar Heels didn't need any help yet got it anyway as even buzzer shots were falling: 

Little changed in the second half, with North Carolina running what amounted to practice—that buzzer-beater above was the result of a timeout with seven seconds left in the half.

North Carolina did have a scary moment when Joel Berry II landed awkwardly after a shot and went down holding his ankle. He went to the back with trainers.

Berry, though, returned before finishing his day 1-of-8 with three points. Insider Carolina offered one angle as to why North Carolina coach Roy Williams would put him back in a game already decided:

Otherwise, the size advantage showed as North Carolina drummed up a 54-27 rebounding advantage, with five different Tar Heels tallying at least six boards. Hicks ended up scoring 17 points, flanked by another 13 from Kennedy Meeks.

On the other hand, Texas Southern lost its identity, jacking up low-percentage attempts from deep and finishing 7-of-27 from range with only nine assists. The team deserves credit for battling until the bitter end, but it certainly wasn't the one to make history by being the first to take down a No. 1.

Moving forward, the Tigers will need to keep hunting for the first bracket win in program history, with the emergence of Scott, a junior, a positive point.

After firing a warning shot to the rest of the bracket, the Tar Heels will turn around and dance with eighth-seeded Arkansas, which got the benefit of a controversial flagrant foul earlier Friday in a win against Seton Hall.

North Carolina meets Arkansas for the sixth time in the tournament, the team the program has now played more than any other in the bracket besides Villanova, according to NCAA director of media coordination David Worlock.

 

Postgame Reaction

As expected, Jackson was the star of the show after the game.

The junior took the broadcast interview slot: 

Jackson took a deep dive into breaking out of his shooting slump to start the tournament, as captured by Brant Wilkerson of the News & Record:

Williams, however, was in typical form, already focusing on Arkansas, according to Kyle Deckelbaum of KATV: "We've got to attack them back. They're aggressive, hard on defense. Mike's done great job. Watched bit of Kent game."

As for Texas Southern head coach Mike Davis, he was quick to point out a loss to a team like North Carolina shouldn't take away from the progress his guys made, according to Carolina Blitz:

Davis, like most present, was quick to praise Jackson as well: "He's probably one of the hardest workers in the country."

      

Stats and information courtesy of ESPN.com unless otherwise specified. Advanced metrics courtesy of ESPN.com.

Where can I comment?

Stay on your game

Latest news, insights, and forecasts on your teams across leagues.

Choose Teams
Get it on the App StoreGet it on Google Play

Real-time news for your teams right on your mobile device.

Download
Copyright © 2017 Bleacher Report, Inc. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. All Rights Reserved. BleacherReport.com is part of Bleacher Report – Turner Sports Network, part of the Turner Sports and Entertainment Network. Certain photos copyright © 2017 Getty Images. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of Getty Images is strictly prohibited. AdChoices