KANSAS CITY, Mo. --  Bruce Pearl outgunned the original gunner -- that is, North Carolina coach Roy Williams, whose teams never stop running the floor.

The result was Auburn's 97-80 Midwest Regional upset that knocked off the top-seeded Tar Heels. How big of an upset? North Carolina was playing in its 34th regional semifinal in program history. Meanwhile, the upstart Tigers earned their first Elite Eight berth in 33 years.

They did it with a second-half run from which the Heels never recovered. The 11 3-pointers the Tigers made in the second half alone were two off what they average for a game.

Auburn asserted itself at the beginning of the second half, hitting its first 3-pointer and going on an 8-0 run to take a 49-39 lead. Two of those baskets were by top two scorers Bryce Brown and Jared Harper. By the time the spurt was over, the Tigers had begun the second half making six of eight shots and taking a 60-48 lead. That completed a 25-7 run that began late in the first half.

The blitz included those 11 second-half 3-pointers after the Tigers had hit on only 5 of 19 in the first half. Did you expect them to stop jacking it up? This is a team that averages 30 3-point shots per game.

The win was Auburn's 11th consecutive. In eight of those games, the Tigers have been out-rebounded. At this point, who cares?

There were actual (basketball) chants of "SEC, SEC" as the final seconds bled out.

The Tigers will now play for a spot in the Final Four on Sunday. Between now and then, the health of forward Chuma Okeke will be a hot topic. In the middle of what was trending toward a career game (20 points), Okeke took a nasty spill underneath the North Carolina basket with eight minutes left. The 6-foot-8 sophomore was eventually rolled onto his back near the end line of Auburn's basket after being down for approximately three minutes. He was escorted off the floor while favoring his left leg.

"It's serious, we think," Pearl said after the game. 

The Tigers also did it with intimidation. Twice within 77 seconds in the second half, North Carolina freshman forward Nassir Little was posterized on blocks by Auburn players.

First, 6-foot-11 Austin Wiley met Little at the basket, swatting the ball out of his hands. Seconds later, Okeke did the same thing, showing these Tigers are more than run-and-gun.

They can play a little defense, too.

It was that kind of game for Auburn, a traditional blueblood in football only. A team that hadn't been in the Sweet 16 since 2003 is now in the Elite Eight for the first time since 1986.

It was a game that stopped time -- literally. With 6:30 left in the first half, the ribbon scoreboards became stuck, which meant the PA announcer had to call out the score after every basket.

That, of course, made announcer Mark Fitzpatrick a busy man for a while. This was a game with an over-under of 165 points. For those of you who had the over, congratulations.

Auburn still hasn't shot less than 29 3-pointers in a game since March 9, averaging more than 33 such attempts since that date.

In the middle of that second-half run, forward Danfel Purifoy knocked in three consecutive 3-pointers to stretch the lead to 16. The sophomore had made only 14 from beyond the arc all season to that point.

This game tipped its hat to Paul Westhead and Loyola Marymount of 1989-90. Those Lions that featured Hank Gathers, who died on the court late in the season of a heart ailment. But they were fun to watch. With the 3-point shot only six years old in Division I basketball at the time, Loyola averaged 23 3s per game. While that wouldn't raise an eyebrow today, it was playground basketball in that era.

Both teams on Friday play a similar but more disciplined style.

"I never had a team that played as fast as I wanted to," Williams said.

Pearl went one better. He said the Heels had the fastest "two or three steps" in transition of any team in the last 25 years.

The Tigers played a similar style, averaging only 16.5 seconds per possession this season. The Heels were just a bit faster (14.6 seconds this season) and better on Friday night.

But in the end, the original gunner was outgunned.