Late run helps Tar Heels knock off Tennessee

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KNOXVILLE, TN - DECEMBER 17: Head coach Rick Barnes of the Tennessee Volunteers reacts in the second half of a game against the North Carolina Tar Heels at Thompson-Boling Arena on December 17, 2017 in Knoxville, Tennessee. North Carolina won 78-73. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Brandon Williams sank a 3-pointer to put North Carolina ahead for good with 35 seconds left as the seventh-ranked Tar Heels rallied past No. 20 Tennessee 78-73 Sunday.

North Carolina (10-1) capitalized on a 9-0 run in the final minute to win for the fifth straight time and ended Thompson-Boling Arena’s hex on defending national champions.

Tennessee (7-2) had won each of the last five times it had hosted a defending national champion, a string that included victories over Connecticut (in January 2012), Florida (February 2007 and February 2008) and Kentucky (February 1999 and February 2013).

Joel Berry II scored a game-high 21 points for North Carolina. Williams and Luke Maye added 15 points each.

Tennessee led by as many as nine points in the second half and was ahead 70-67 before North Carolina took control down the stretch.