NEW YORK – Pete Nance made a jumper at the buzzer to force overtime, RJ Davis iced a much-needed victory for scuffling North Carolina with two late free throws, and the Tar Heels beat No. 23 Ohio State 89-84 on Saturday in the CBS Sports Classic.
Armando Bacot had 28 points and 15 rebounds and Caleb Love scored 22 for North Carolina (8-4), which is trying to right itself after a four-game losing streak – all away from home – knocked the preseason No. 1 team out of the Top 25 two weeks ago.
The Tar Heels have now won three straight, but none better than this one against the Buckeyes (7-3) at Madison Square Garden.
The Tar Heels trailed for most of the game before Davis hit a 3 from the wing with 1:29 left to make it 75-74 North Carolina.
Brice Sensabaugh made a jumper from inside the foul line with 2 seconds left to give the Buckeyes a 79-77 lead. North Carolina used a couple of timeouts to get the play it wanted, first completing a long inbounds pass to get the ball past halfcourt.
That left 1.2 seconds, just enough for Leaky Black to lob an inbounds pass to the 6-foot-11 Nance, who swished a turnaround from the wing as time expired to send it to OT.
Sensabaugh, making his second straight start with Isaac Likekele out, had 22 points and eight rebounds for the Buckeyes.
North Carolina’s Hubert Davis, who played the first four seasons of his 12-year NBA career with the New York Knicks, returned to the Garden as coach of his alma mater for the first time.
Ohio State led by as many as 12 in the first half as the Tar Heels were going 1 for 9 from 3-point range. Bacot pulled the Tar Heels back within six, scoring 14 points and having his way in the paint.
But Justice Sueing made a 3 at the first-half buzzer to put the Buckeyes up 44-35 at the break.
North Carolina: The Tar Heels struggled from 3, hitting just 6 of 28 (21%).
Ohio State: Leading scorer Zed Key had 11 points, four rebounds and four fouls as he spent much of his day leaning on Bacot. The Buckeyes also threw 6-foot-11 freshman Felix Okpara at the Tar Heels’ big man. Okpara fouled out in 12 minutes.
North Carolina: The Tar Heels get the other half of the Big Ten’s fiercest rivalry Wednesday when they face Michigan in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Ohio State: The Buckeyes return home to face Maine on Wednesday.