With the score knotted at 77 and the clock winding down, McAdoo rebounded Brice Johnson's missed jumper and drew a foul with less than four seconds to play. McAdoo made the first free throw to put UNC (24-9) in front. The second attempt missed long and caromed back to McAdoo, who grabbed the loose ball and again got fouled.
McAdoo split the second pair, but the ball bounced out-of-bounds off Providence star Bryce Cotton, whose terrific college career came to a disappointing end as the Tar Heels inbounded and bled the remaining half second off the clock.
Despite the loss, Cotton saved his best for last, pouring in a career-high 36 points with eight assists and five rebounds in his final collegiate game. LaDontae Henton added 16 points and 11 boards for Providence (23-12) in defeat.
Johnson and McAdoo had 16 points apiece for the sixth-seeded Tar Heels, who await the winner of Iowa State and NC Central in the round of 32 of the East Region.