The Long Island University Blackbirds were crushed by the North Carolina Tar Heels 87 to 102 on Friday, dashing the the hometown team's hopes of a Cinderella story.
Despite a valiant effort led by forward Julian Boyd and guard Jason Brickman, the Blackbirds were no match for the Tar Heels' superstars, who overpowered LIU with their size in the paint.
Early in the first half the Blackbirds managed to tie up the contest, but the Heels responded by feeding the ball into their massive centers Tyler Zeller and John Henson, who both had career nights. Zeller had 11 points in the row at one point in the second half.
But Long Island showed great tenacity, even in the face of a double-digit margin the entire second half. Brickman raced up and down the court, showing off the nifty passes and hustle offense that led the Blackbirds to the big dance for the first time since 1997. All told, the Blackbirds attempted a whopping 85 shots thanks to the Heels' lackadaisical defense.
But LIU's inability to convert from behind the arc, combined with their lack of size inside, left them on the losing end.
Still, sports analysts agreed that the Blackbirds looked like a team that could make the NCAA Tournament again next year.