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UNC Ends Saint Peter’s Cinderella Run, Sets Up Historic Final Four Meeting vs. Duke

No. 8 UNC dashed the Cinderella hopes of No. 15 Saint Peter’s and advanced to the Final Four with a 69–49 victory in the Elite Eight on Sunday afternoon in Philadelphia. 

The Tar Heels dominated from the opening tip, leading the Peacocks by as much as 27 points in the win. UNC stifled Saint Peter’s offense throughout the contest, holding the MAAC champs to just 30% shooting and 4-of-16 from beyond the arc. The Tar Heels never trailed on their way to claiming the East Region’s spot in the Final Four. 

Junior forward Armando Bacot led the way for the Tar Heels with 20 points and 22 rebounds, including eight on the offensive glass. Former Oklahoma transfer Brady Manek chipped in 19 points and eight rebounds on 7-of-11 shooting.

The loss brought an end to Saint Peter’s historic March Madness journey, after the Peacocks became the first No. 15 seed in NCAA tournament history to make the Elite Eight. Led by coach Shaheen Holloway, the program put together one of the most memorable Cinderella runs of all time over the last two weeks. 

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With the win on Sunday, UNC will move on to face a familiar foe in the Final Four: Duke. The No. 2 Blue Devils downed No. 4 Arkansas 78–69 on Saturday night to emerge out of the West Region in Coach K’s final season as the program’s coach. 

Although the two storied foes have played more than 250 times over the course of history, UNC and Duke have never met in the NCAA tournament. The ACC programs are now poised to square off in a third matchup this season.

UNC and Duke split the 2021–22 regular season series, with each team winning when on the road. The two rivals will now get a chance to meet in a rubber match as the Tar Heels will try to play spoiler in the final NCAA tournament of Coach K’s career.

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