WASHINGTON – Failing to score over the final 6:10 of the first half as North Carolina was exploding on an 18-0 run, Notre Dame (21-11) exited the ACC tournament Friday night in a 78-47 semifinal loss to the Tar Heels.
The loss ended a three-game winning streak over the Tar Heels and snapped a five-game winning streak against North Carolina and Duke combined.
The Irish now await an NCAA bid Sunday while No. 1 seed North Carolina (27-6) advances to Saturday night’s ACC tournament championship against the winner of No. 2 seed Virginia vs. No. 3 seed Miami.
North Carolina’s scoring run reached 24 points from the end of the first half and another three-and-a-half minutes into the second half.
A loose-ball basket by Bonzie Colson with 6:10 left in the first half was Notre Dame’s final tally until the 16:38 mark of the second when Colson converted a pair of free throws.
The Tar Heels, among the bottom 10 percent in the country in three-point shooting at 31.3 percent, nailed 5-of-11 in the first half to turn a one-point lead into a 41-22 advantage at the break.
Trailing by 19 at halftime, the Irish fell behind by as many as 35 in the second half.
The Irish converted just 8-of-24 field-goal attempts in the first half while falling behind 19. They finished just 15-of-50 from the field (26 percent).
North Carolina out-rebounded Notre Dame, 49-31, including 19-7 on the offensive boards. The Tar Heels also scored 40 points in the paint compared to Notre Dame’s 10. Bench points also went decisively to North Carolina, 20-6. Notre Dame turned the ball over 17 times after coughing it up 18 times against Duke.
Bonzie Colson paced the Irish in scoring with 15 points. V.J. Beachem tossed in 11. Zach Auguste, who scored 19 points and grabbed 22 rebounds against Duke Thursday night, finished with six points and 10 rebounds. Steve Vasturia failed to score for the Irish on 0-of-6 shooting.
North Carolina was led in scoring by Marcus Paige with 16 points, followed by Brice Johnson and Joel Berry II with 12 apiece. Justin Jackson and Isaiah Hicks each tossed in 11.