KANSAS CITY, MO (WSFA) - Auburn is not afraid of the big stage. The Tigers are moving on to the Elite 8 for the first time since 1986 after handling North Carolina 97-80 in the Sweet 16.
It was sophomore Chuma Okeke who was the star of the night before his injury. Okeke had 20 points and 11 rebounds for Auburn before exiting with a left knee injury with 8:08 remaining in the contest.
As a team, Auburn was lights out from beyond the arc. It was going to be a battle of three-point shooting and Auburn brought their shooters. As a team, the Tigers shot 16 of 36 from three.
Defensively, the Tigers kept the Tar Heels in check. North Carolina shot 43 percent from the field and just 7 of 28 from three. Tar Heels leading scorer Cameron Johnson was held to just 15 points.
Auburn opened the second half scoring eight straight points to take a 10-point lead over the No. 1 seed Tar Heels. Auburn would keep the pressure applied and pushing the lead to as large 21 in the game.
Roy Williams entered Friday night with an 8-1 record all-time in the Sweet 16 as North Carolina’s head coach. Bruce Pearl’s Auburn team ran the Tar Heels off the court en route to handing Williams his second loss.
Friday night’s loss in the Sweet 16 was also the worst loss for UNC under Roy Williams in the round of 16. Wisconsin downed North Carolina 79-72 in 2015.
Auburn now awaits the winner of Kentucky and Houston in the Elite 8 Sunday.