By OnMilwaukee Staff Writers   Published Mar 25, 2011 at 10:24 PM

When the biggest highlight of the game is walk-on Rob Frozena, hitting a three-pointer ... that's never a good sign.

But that was the case Friday night as Marquette saw its 2010-11 season come to an abrupt end with 81-63 loss to North Carolina in an NCAA tournament East Regional semifinal at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.

The Golden Eagles had no answer for junior forward Tyler Zeller, who led the Tar Heels with 27 points and 15 rebounds. Harrison Barnes added 20 points and 16 rebounds and John Henson finished with 14 and 12.

"Their inside presence, those two guys they play great together," junior guard Darius Johnson-Odom said.

The first eight minutes or so were close and entertaining but the wheels then came off for Marquette.

After taking a 10-8 lead with 12:43 to play in the first half, the Golden Eagles missed their next 14 shots while North Carolina rattled off 19 straight points and finished the first half on a 32-5 run, leading, 40-15, heading into the locker room.

"It was very frustrating," Johnson-Odom said. "They did a great job of taking away our wings, what we were doing in transition. ... We just got down and it was a big lead and we fought and fought and fought in the second half and tried to cut it down as much as possible, but we dug ourselves a hole."

After a slow start to the second half (0 of 3), Marquette mounted a mini-rally of sorts. The Golden Eagles shot 51.5 percent(17 of 33) in the final 20 minutes but it was too little, too late. The closest they could get to the Tar Heels was 14 points on Jimmy Butler's dunk with 4:21 to play.

"I thought in the first half we were pitiful," Marquette coach Buzz Williams said. "We shot 52 percent in the second half, which is more aligned with what we typically do. They shot 38 percent in the second half, which ideally is what we would like to hold teams to."

The damage, though, was already done and the Golden Eagles (22-15), led by 16 points from freshman Davante Gardner, now will watch the rest of the tournament from home while the Tar Heels (29-7) advance to the Elite Eight for the third time in the last four years.