Heels ride Lawson to Sweet 16 | Sports

Heels ride Lawson to Sweet 16

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TV/CBS — For everyone who has been annoyed by the continuous reporting of the Ty Lawson toe injury, Saturday served as your reminder why his presence is so important to Carolina's basketball team.

The Tar Heels, pushed hard by LSU in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, needed the hobbled Lawson to carry them to an 84-70 victory — and the final 16 — in arguably the finest performance of Lawson's career.

Playing for the first time since the Duke game at the finish of the regular season, Lawson spearheaded a rally that saw Carolina storm back from a disastrous opening to the second half to pull away down the stretch.

The junior point guard scored 23 points and added six assists and two steals, and he didn't commit a single turnover. Junior wing Wayne Ellington added 23 points of his own, drawing praise from CBS announce Clark Kellogg as the best shooting guard in the nation in the process.

Carolina shot 54 percent from the field and, after allowing the Tigers to go wild early in the second frame, held LSU to 45 percent accuracy for the game.

UNC's next opponent will be Gonzaga, a game that will take place on Friday night. The Zags defeated the Heels in 2006-07, and many of the same players on both teams still factor heavily.

As a point of interest, all of the No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 seeds in the tournament advanced to the third round. That's highly unusual, and the Thursday and Friday games should be outstanding.

To see the UNC/LSU box score, click here.

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