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Off the cuff: If looked a little iffy there for a while - what with Tyler Zeller and Dexter Strickland in foul trouble and Reggie Bullock out of the season with a knee injury. There are only five other scholarship players on the roster.

Plus, Carolina turned the ball over 15 times, including a handful in the last couple of minutes when the Heels blew a seven-point lead.

But this was a well-played game that ended in spectacular fashion on a Harrison Barnes three with three seconds left.

Threes and free throw shooting are becoming big for the Tar Heels, who rank near the bottom of the ACC in both categories.

In addition to the late Barnes three, a pair of threes by Leslie McDonald brought the Heels from behind to take a five-point lead that they held until the last few seconds.

The Tar Heels hit 14 of 18 free throws including a seven of eight performance by John Henson, who has struggled from the line all year. His inability to shoot free throws has landed him on the bench in late-game situations, until the Florida State game. It was big to have his presence in the game late.

Tar Heels 72, Florida State 70
Barnes three lifts Heels to win over FSU

When the game is on the line, get it to Harrison Barnes and clear out. That strategy worked for the fifth time this year as Barnes got the ball with 10 seconds left and his North Carolina team down 70-69. The Tar Heels spread out as Barnes dribbled up high, tried to penetrate the lane, couldn't, so he stopped at the top of the key and popped in a three with three seconds left to give the Heels a 72-70 victory at Florida State. (3/2)

"It's very exciting to shoot a last-second shot and have the game in your hands," Barnes said. "You're either the hero or the goat. Tonight I made it."

The win moves Carolina to 13-2 and sets up a game for the ACC regular season title at home against Duke on Saturday. The victory also ensures UNC of at least a second-place finish and a bye in the first round of the ACC tournament.

The Tar Heels appeared in control of the game up by seven at 67-60 with less than four minutes to play. But a shot clock violation, a pair of turnovers by UNC point guard Kendall Marshall and a rushed shot by Dexter Strickland let Florida State come back to take the lead at 70-69 on a pair of free throws by Derwin Kitchin with 18 seconds left.

"They took advantage of our silliness down the stretch," UNC coach Roy Williams said. "We've gotta play more intelligently."

He particularly was concerned that Marshall didn't call one of Carolina's four remaining timeouts when he was trapped in the corner, instead turning it over. He also said Strickland, his other guard, inexplicably drove in and forced up a shot with 13 seconds left on the shot clock.

By the time all the "silliness" was done, Carolina had been outscored 10-2 and, despite having the lead almost the entire second half, the Tar Heels needed the heroics from Barnes.

The play was designed for Barnes to drive the lane but there were three defenders up top blocking his way. "I had to improv," Barnes said.

There were eight ties and eight lead changes in the first half. The Seminoles were up 38-37 at the break and opened up a five-point lead in the first minute of the second half.

Back-to-back threes by UNC's Leslie McDonald put the Heels up by five with just over 14 minutes to play. Carolina kept the lead, even extending it to seven twice, until the Kitchen free throws with 18 seconds left. Big plays in the second half second included a steal and fastbreak dunk by Barnes to make it 62-55 and an open three by Marshall to make it 67-60 with 3:53 left.

Rebounding and free throw shooting were important as Carolina outrebounded FSU 39-28 and scored seven more points from the line, going 14 of 18. John Henson had 12 of those rebounds and surprisingly hit six of seven free throws.

Henson also led the Tar Heels in scoring with 19 while Barnes had 17 points and 10 rebounds. McDonald added 10 while Tyler Zeller, saddled with foul trouble, scored only nine.

Kitchen had 13 points to lead the Seminoles, who fall to 20-9 and 10-5 in the ACC.





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