- Robbi Pickeral, College Basketball
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ST. LOUIS -- The worry over Kendall Marshall’s wrist continues.
The concern over Harrison Barnes’ shot does not.
Although top-seeded North Carolina doesn’t know if its starting point guard will miss his second straight game Sunday because of a fractured right wrist, the team is confident that its starting small forward -- who made only 3 of 16 shots Friday, with Marshall out -- will play well.
“We’re not worried about Harrison,’’ senior forward Tyler Zeller said. “… He’s got the mindset that, even if he’s missed 15 shots, he can make the next 15. When he gets going, he gets going. He can score a lot of points very quickly, and we just wait for that moment, and hope it happens.”
They probably need it to happen in the NCAA Midwest Region final against No. 2 seed Kansas, especially if Marshall is out.
The Tar Heels got just about all they could out of Zeller (20 points, 22 rebounds) and Reggie Bullock (17 points, 10 rebounds) against Ohio on Friday. John Henson added a double-double, and freshman point guard Stilman White, making his first collegiate start, performed better than expected: six assists, zero turnovers.
And the 13th-seeded Bobcats still took them to overtime.
If Marshall is a scratch, that leaves the biggest bounce-back growth possibility to Barnes, who admits he had a “poor game,” but tried to make up for it with two late-game stints.
First, with about three minutes left, he buried a free throw then hit a 3-pointer off an offensive rebound to tie the score at 57. Then -- after missing a game-winning shot at the end of regulation -- he scored five points in overtime to help his team survive elimination.
In three NCAA tournament games, he’s still made only 15 of 47 shots, including 6 of 18 3-point attempts.
But he’s not worried. Part of his makeup -- the calm and confidence that has made him clutch for the Tar Heels over so many games -- is that he’s willing to keep shooting.
Especially in big situations -- like the upcoming one Sunday.
“I judge my good and bad games by wins and losses,’’ he said. “I do whatever I can to win the game; that’s what I’m defined by. Individual stats -- obviously, if I’m not putting up 30, 10 and 10, I’m probably going to get some criticism. But you just have to go out there and play to win, and as long as my team wins, everything’s going to be all right.”
KANSAS-UNC SERIES? Williams said he would not be open to a Kansas-UNC home-and-home series. But Jayhawks coach Bill Self wouldn’t mind seeing the teams play more often.
“I understand why we don't, if we don't. But I certainly think that it would be a great, great series,’’ Self said. “… Certainly neither place has a hard time selling out, but we could certainly raise the price of season tickets a couple bucks.”
Williams, though, said it would be “too emotional” for him to play at Allen Fieldhouse, considering he used to coach the Jayhawks there and has so many positive memories.
“I don't want to go in there as the coach of the opposing team,’’ he said.
INJURY (BESIDES MARSHALL) REPORT: Reggie Bullock, who left Friday’s game for a couple of minutes in the second half after his left knee buckled, said Saturday he is feeling fine.
“It was basically just a player tried to box me out and he just came to my knee level and [it] just buckled back,’’ said Bullock, who scored 12 of his 17 points after halftime. “ It just scared me a little bit because I was just thinking, I hope it's not another time for me to not be able to play. But I just kept my confidence high and just hoped for the best, and it just worked out.”
Meanwhile, Henson continues to wear a wrap on his previously sprained left wrist, which caused him to miss three postseason games. He said it continues to feel better.
And Williams, who had a couple of dizzy spells during Friday’s game, was healthier Saturday, as well.
“After the game I had a little headache, not bad,’’ Williams said. “I got something to eat, feel great today. I just wish I would get over this dadgum sore throat is the bottom line.”
Follow Robbi Pickeral on Twitter at @bylinerp.
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