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No. 7 North Carolina pulls away from Pitt in ACC quarterfinals

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North Carolina shot 59 percent and pulled away in the final 10 minutes to beat Pitt 88-71 in the quarterfinals of the ACC Tournament in Washington, DC on Thursday.

The No. 7 Tar Heels, led by Joel Barry II, used an 11-0 run midway through the second half to break open a two-point game and cruise to an easy victory.

Berry led all scorers with 20 points on 7 for 8 shooting, Bryce Johnson recorded a double-double with 19 points and 10 rebound, Justin Jackson scored 13 and Isiah Hicks added 10 points of the bench for the Tar Heels (26-6) who are seeking their first ACC Tournament crown since 2008.

Jamel Artis, who scored the game’s first eight points, and Michael Young each had 19 points for the Panthers (21-11). Young also led the team in rebounding with five and Sheldon Jeter scored 13 points off the bench for Pitt. James Robinson led the Panthers in assist with five, becoming the fifth player in program history to reach 600 career assists.

North Carolina went on a 10-0 run to end the first half to take the lead over the Panthers at halftime 39-35. After Pitt battled back to tie the score at 45 with 15:52 left, UNC went on a 11-0 run to effectively put the game out of reach.

The Tar Heels outrebounded Pitt 30-25, held the assist advantage 18-11 and shot better from the field (58.8% to 44.4%).

UNC will play the fourth seeded Notre Dame Fighting Irish on Friday evening, while Pitt will spend the weekend sweating the rest of tournament week in anticipation of Selection Sunday.

Pitt entered Thursday’s game ranked 53rd in the RPI and held 41st-toughest strength of schedule in the country. The Panthers are 8-8 against top 50 opponents, all numbers that usually result in an NCAA berth. As always, however, the next 72 hours of conference tournament play will have a major impact on the tournament bubble.

VIDEO: Jordan Cornette of Campus Insiders breaks down Pitt's NCAA Tournament chances

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