March Madness starts early as Miami downs UNC with half-court dagger at the buzzer

  • The Miami Hurricanes and North Carolina Tar Heels kicked off March Madness season a few weeks early, playing to the buzzer in a thriller on Tuesday.
  • After UNC tied the game with just four seconds remaining, Miami senior Ja'Quan Newton hit a running three from half-court to win the game for the Hurricanes.
  • Both teams are expected to make the NCAA tournament when the bracket is revealed on March 11.


While we're still 10 days from Selection Sunday, Miami and No. 9 North Carolina decided to get a bit of an early start on March Madness this year with an absolutely thrilling game on Tuesday night.

Down three points with the ball, the Tar Heels needed a big shot in front of their home crowd to force overtime in the final seconds of the game. Joel Berry II stepped up to the challenge, burying a trey from pro-range to knot the game up at 88-88.

With the Dean Smith Center in hysterics, it looked as though the game was heading for an extra five minutes.

But Miami had other ideas.

With just 4.1 seconds left on the clock, the Hurricanes inbounded to senior guard Ja'Quan Newton, who took the ball just past half-court before launching a runner from the logo. As the ball was in the air, the buzzer sounded.

Swish. Hurricanes win, 91-88.

After the game, even Newton was impressed with himself.

"I've made a buzzer-beater before but not at this type of level," Newton said. "This is one thing I've always dreamed about. ... For me to actually do it right now at this moment, out there against North Carolina, that's something I will remember forever."

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Miami stuns UNC at the buzzer
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Miami stuns UNC at the buzzer
Feb 27, 2018; Chapel Hill, NC, USA; Miami (Fl) Hurricanes Ja'Quan Newton (0) shoots a last second shoot to win the game. The Hurricanes defeated the Tar Heels at Dean E. Smith Center. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 27, 2018; Chapel Hill, NC, USA; Miami (Fl) Hurricanes players celebrate after guard Ja'Quan Newton (0) hits a last second shot to win the game. The Hurricanes defeated the Tar Heels at Dean E. Smith Center. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 27, 2018; Chapel Hill, NC, USA; Miami (Fl) Hurricanes players celebrate after guard Ja'Quan Newton (0) hits a last second shot to win the game. The Hurricanes defeated the Tar Heels at Dean E. Smith Center. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 27, 2018; Chapel Hill, NC, USA; Miami (Fl) Hurricanes players celebrate after guard Ja'Quan Newton (0) hits a last second shot to win the game. The Hurricanes defeated the Tar Heels at Dean E. Smith Center. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 27, 2018; Chapel Hill, NC, USA; Miami (Fl) Hurricanes players celebrate after guard Ja'Quan Newton (0) hits a last second shot to win the game. The Hurricanes defeated the Tar Heels at Dean E. Smith Center. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
CHAPEL HILL, NC - FEBRUARY 27: Ja'Quan Newton #0 of the Miami Hurricanes celebrates with teammates after making the game-winning basket against the North Carolina Tar Heels during their game at the Dean Smith Center on February 27, 2018 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Miami won 91-88. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
CHAPEL HILL, NC - FEBRUARY 27: Teammates pile on Ja'Quan Newton #0 of the Miami Hurricanes as they celebrate after his game-wining basket against the North Carolina Tar Heels during their game at the Dean Smith Center on February 27, 2018 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Miami won 91-88. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
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Both Miami and North Carolina are expected to make the NCAA tournament, with the Hurricanes currently projected as a 7-seed and the Tar Heels expected to be a 2-seed.

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