Ty Lawson scored 23 points in his return from injury to help North Carolina beat LSU 84-70 in the second round of the NCAA tournament Saturday.
Wayne Ellington also scored 23 points for the top-seeded Tar Heels (30-4), who advanced to next week's South Regional semifinals to face the Gonzaga-Western Kentucky winner.
Lawson had missed the past three games with a jammed right big toe, but came back to the lineup just in time for the Tar Heels. North Carolina trailed by five midway through the second half before Lawson sparked an 11-0 run to break a 63-all tie and keep the Tar Heels alive.
Marcus Thornton scored 25 for the eighth-seeded Tigers (27-8), who were making their first NCAA appearance since reaching the Final Four in 2006.
It also marked the first time in school history that the Tar Heels have won at least 30 games three consecutive seasons.
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)