March 20, 2010

Bulldogs season ended by defending champs

STARKVILLE, Miss., - Trailing North Carolina by two points, Mississippi State senior guard Barry Stewart stepped to the free throw line and buried both of his attempts to tie things up 74-74 with just over eight seconds to go.

The Tar Heels inbounded the ball to Larry Drew II, who drove the length of the court and dropped a floating layup off the glass over the NCAA's all-time leading shot blocker Jarvis Varnado to give UNC a dramatic 76-74 win to advance to the third round of the National Invitation Tournament.

"After he sank the free throw and it was a tie game, I told myself it was a do or die situation," Drew said. "I feel like I could get to the paint anytime I want to. I got to the paint and saw Jarvis to my right side and I just wanted to get up there and give it a chance to go in and luckily it did that."

The shot was sweet redemption for Drew, who missed a similar shot earlier this season against Georgia Tech in Chapel Hill.

"Today it was smiling on us," said UNC head coach Roy Willliams. "When they went to the line there at the end I told Larry just to push it. When we played Georgia Tech at our place he missed one at the end. It was contested but I told him that he would get one of these later and he'd make it and it would be a game winner."

The defending national champions shot 48.5-percent on the day improving to 18-16 on the year.

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