North Carolina, Wisconsin reach regional final

Saturday, March 26, 2005

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- North Carolina won without Raymond Felton -- barely.

After the star point guard fouled out, the top-seeded Tar Heels did just enough down the stretch to hold off Villanova 67-66 Friday night, earning a trip to the regional finals for the first time since 2000.

The Wildcats missed a chance to tie it in the final seconds when Allan Ray was called for traveling on a drive to the basket. He made the shot as he was slapped across the arm, but referee Tom O'Neill already had blown his whistle for the violation.

Villanova (24-8) was forced to foul, and Rashad McCants made a free throw with 7.6 seconds left to increase the Tar Heels' margin to four. Kyle Lowry rattled in a 3-pointer about 5 seconds later to bring the Wildcats to 67-66, and he chased down Sean May's errant inbounds pass just before the buzzer.

But his desperation heave was wide, letting North Carolina (30-4) advance to play Wisconsin in the final of the Syracuse Regional. The Badgers beat North Carolina State 65-56 earlier Friday.

Wisconsin 65, N. Carolina St. 56

Alando Tucker helped Wisconsin (25-8) bounce back from a horrible first half, scoring eight straight points during a 13-0 run that gave the Badgers a 65-56 victory over North Carolina State on Friday night and a spot in the NCAA tournament's round of eight.

Tucker scored 22 points and Mike Wilkinson scored 17, getting his final two on a breakaway dunk with 20 seconds left that got the rest of the Badgers to leap for joy on the court.

Engin Atsur scored 16 and Julius Hodge had 14 on 4-for-15 shooting for N.C. State (21-14).

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