Auburn beats North Carolina at its own game in stunning romp over top-seeded Tar Heels

North Carolina met its match on Friday. And then some.

Fifth-seeded Auburn took on the No. 1 seed North Carolina’s potent offensive machine and bettered it in a stunning 97-80 win to advance to the Midwest regional final.

With the loss, North Carolina is the first No. 1 seed to fall in the NCAA tournament

The first half lived up to the up-and-down track meet promised, with Auburn keeping up with North Carolina’s vaunted pace as the two teams traded blows.

But the end of the half was a premonition of what was yet to come as Auburn closed on a 6-0 run that included a transition layup from J’Von McCormick to beat the buzzer to take a 41-39 lead into halftime.

See photos from the game: 

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No. 5 Auburn upsets No. 1 UNC in Sweet 16
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No. 5 Auburn upsets No. 1 UNC in Sweet 16
KANSAS CITY, MO - MARCH 29: Coby White #2 of the North Carolina Tar Heels defends against the Auburn Tigers in the third round of the 2019 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament held at Sprint Center on March 29, 2019 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ben Solomon/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - MARCH 29: Luke Maye #32 of the North Carolina Tar Heels handles the ball against the Auburn Tigers during the 2019 NCAA Basketball Tournament Midwest Regional at Sprint Center on March 29, 2019 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MO - MARCH 29: Garrison Brooks #15 of the North Carolina Tar Heels fights over the ball against Anfernee McLemore #24 of the Auburn Tigers in the third round of the 2019 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament held at Sprint Center on March 29, 2019 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ben Solomon/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - MARCH 29: J'Von McCormick #12 of the Auburn Tigers drives to the basket against the North Carolina Tar Heels during the 2019 NCAA Basketball Tournament Midwest Regional at Sprint Center on March 29, 2019 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - MARCH 29: Seventh Woods #0 of the North Carolina Tar Heels battles for a loose ball with Bryce Brown #2 of the Auburn Tigers during the 2019 NCAA Basketball Tournament Midwest Regional at Sprint Center on March 29, 2019 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - MARCH 29: Cameron Johnson #13 of the North Carolina Tar Heels battles for the ball against the Auburn Tigers during the 2019 NCAA Basketball Tournament Midwest Regional at Sprint Center on March 29, 2019 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Auburn's Chuma Okeke yells out in pain after being injured during the second half of a men's NCAA tournament college basketball Midwest Regional semifinal game against North Carolina Friday, March 29, 2019, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
North Carolina's Coby White (2) dunks as Auburn's Horace Spencer (0) defends during the second half of a men's NCAA tournament college basketball Midwest Regional semifinal game Friday, March 29, 2019, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Auburn's Samir Doughty celebrates during the second half of a men's NCAA tournament college basketball Midwest Regional semifinal game against North Carolina Friday, March 29, 2019, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
North Carolina head coach Roy Williams yells from the sidelines during the second half of a men's NCAA tournament college basketball Midwest Regional semifinal game against Auburn Friday, March 29, 2019, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Auburn's Bryce Brown applauds during the second half of a men's NCAA tournament college basketball Midwest Regional semifinal game against North Carolina Friday, March 29, 2019, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
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Auburn kept the throttle on to start the second half, opening with a pair of 3-pointers and a Malik Dunbar jumper to extend its lead to 49-39 and assert full control over the game.

The Tar Heels made repeated efforts to close the gap, getting within 60-54 with 13:41 remaining.

But then the Tigers opened the flood gates. Three-point shots that mostly missed as Auburn played a close first half started to drop with abandon.

Carolina had no answer. It was playing from behind as Auburn only got hotter from the field and failed to find the run that would keep its championship hopes alive.

See photos from the rest of the Sweet 16: %Slideshow-1033855

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