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Off the cuff: Creighton is a good team but not good enough to hang with a team of Carolina's caliber and by the physical nature of the Bluejays' play, they knew it as well.

The only legitimate way ther Bluejays could beat Carolina would be if they were raining in threes and the Tar Heels were shooting poorly. With that not happening, the only recourse they had was to play rough and get Carolina out of its rhythm and/or in foul trouble.

I wouldn't go so far as to say Creighton was a dirty team but did you notice the wink from Grant Gibbs after he slapped at Henson's wrist, igniting Henson's fuse? Gibbs got the foul but Henson got a technical as a result of his response.

Gibbs, who played tough all day, didn't get his second foul until midway through the second half when he roughed up P.J. Hairston, who also took exception.

This is why, in part, I blame the officials for Marshall's injury. Creighton was called for 18 fouls compared to eight for UNC but it was the hardness of the fouls and the obvious slapping motion of the fouls that officials should have warned the Bluejays about.

Ethan Wragge, who committed the hard foul on Marshall, was turned all around and the slow-footed big man had no chance of stopping Marshall from scoring - unless he bashed him, which he did. Marshall hit one of the two free throws so instead of Carolina having an 18-point lead at that time, the Heels took a 17-point lead. Not sure the hard foul that may have ended Marshall's season was worth one point.

In addition to Marshall's injury, Henson says his wrist did not feel good during or after the game as it felt weak and he still has trouble gripping the ball.

Again, Creighton is a good team and should be proud of its season but it will be a shame if the Tar Heels' road to the Final Four is shortened by an inferior team committing hard fouls.

Tar Heels 87, Creighton 73
UNC gets fired up, takes it to Creighton

North Carolina, playing with John Henson for the first time since the first game of the ACC Tournament, got fired up against a physical Creighton team and rolled to an 87-73 to reach the NCAA Sweet 16. (3/18)

The win may be costly as Kendall Marshall has a broken bone in his right wrist following a hard foul by Ethan Wragge as Marshall had a clear way to the basket midway through the second half.

"When you go to the sweet 16, it's supposed to be a lot more fun that this," said UNC coach Roy Williams in talking about the Marshall injury. He said he has no idea at this point whether or not Marshall will be able to play in the next game. To learn more about the specific type of injury, please click here.

Marshall is left-handed but it takes weeks or months for that type of injury to heal. If it requires a cast, it's difficult to imagine a point guard being able to go. As someone said, Marshall is the straw that stirs Carolina's drink. If he can't go, it's very unlikely the Heels would win the tournament.

Henson, who got a technical early for getting in the face of Creighton's Grant Gibbs for hacking at his wrist, seemed to put a little extra into his effort to finish with 13 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks.

Five Tar Heels scored in double figures. Joining Henson were Kendall Marshall with 18, Harrison Barnes with 17, Reggie Bullock with 13 and Tyler Zeller with 11.

The Bluejays came into the game as the better three-point shooting team but it was Carolina that drilled eight of 16 threes. Barnes and Bullock had three each.

The Tar Heels, who led by as many as 15 points in the first half, settled for an eight-point lead at the half, 43-35. A 9-0 run though early in the second half pushed the margin up to 19 points at 61-42 following a Marshall 15-footer.

"I'm just trying to take what the defense gives me," said Marshall, who hit seven of his eight shots to go with 11 assists.

But a modest 9-4 run put the Bluejays to within 12 with 5:15 to play at 75-63. Two straight Barnes threes from the top of the key, just 40 seconds apart, took the lead back up to 18 and killed any chance of Creighton coming back.

The Tar Heels shot 51 percent from the floor while holding the Bluejays to 41 percent. UNC also outrebounded Creighton 43-34.

The Tar Heels, 31-5, play in St. Louis next weekend against either South Florida or Ohio.


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