C.L. Brown, ESPN Staff Writer 575d

Senior duo helps Tar Heels escape Arkansas' upset bid

GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Remember the seniors? Yeah, they still matter in March, and for North Carolina none had bigger plays down the stretch of its 72-65 win over Arkansas than senior forwards Kennedy Meeks and Isaiah Hicks.

Hicks had the clinching free throws with 10 seconds left to put the Heels up five. Hicks knocked down the pressure shots moments after Joel Berry II, an 83 percent free throw shooter, missed the front end of a bonus that allowed Arkansas a chance to tie.

Hicks scored all nine of his points in the second half, including six in the game's final two minutes.

Meeks had consecutive big plays after Carolina wrestled a 66-65 lead. In the first half, he'd been caught defending guard Daryl Macon after a screen and fouled him attempting a 3-pointer. With a minute left, he was in the same situation with Macon. This time Meeks stood firm, contesting Macon's shot that ended up an air ball.

The following trip down the floor when Berry crashed into an Arkansas defender and hopelessly threw up a shot, Meeks was there to clean up the mess with a basket to put the Heels up three.

Carolina lost all of a 17-point lead in the first half, but closed out the game on a 12-0 run to advance to its third straight Sweet 16.

And the Heels can thank their seniors for it.

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