North Carolina ekes past Harvard, 67-65

Wesley Saunders scored 26 points in his final collegiate game Thursday night. (zimbio.com)
Wesley Saunders scored 26 points in his final collegiate game Thursday night. (zimbio.com)

So close. So very close.

After trailing 50-34 with 16:36 remaining in its NCAA tournament matchup with North Carolina, Harvard looked done. The No. 13 Crimson looked one-dimensional nearly the entire game up to that point, with that dimension being senior guard Wesley Saunders.

But a true team comeback propelled Harvard to its first lead of the game with 1:17 remaining, and Saunders had a chance to win the game with a three-pointer as time expired. The shot hit the glass and rim before popping out, ending Harvard’s season and giving No. 4 North Carolina the 67-65 victory in Jacksonville.

Read moreNorth Carolina ekes past Harvard, 67-65

North Carolina leads Harvard at halftime, 36-25

No. 4 North Carolina leads No. 13 Harvard at halftime in Jacksonville, 36-25.

It’s been a game of many runs so far, and a whole lot of Wesley Saunders. The Harvard senior guard posted 15 points in the stanza, including the Crimson’s first 10 points. It took 10:56 for a Harvard player other than Saunders to score, and at one point, Harvard was shooting 1-for-14 outside of Saunders.

And yet the Crimson reeled off a 16-5 run in 6:04, cutting North Carolina’s lead to 26-23 before the Tar Heels in turn bounced back to finish the half on a 10-2 run driven by sophomore forward Isiah Hicks, who leads UNC with nine points off the bench.

Eight Tar Heels have scored, many of them notching easy buckets in transition off of long rebounds. Still, three Tar Heels also have two fouls – freshman forward Justin Jackson and junior forwards Brice Johnson and J.P. Tokoto.

Can Harvard ride Saunders to another improbable victory? We’re about to find out.