Rotnei Clarke and Kellen Dunham each posted 17 points as Butler toppled No. 9 North Carolina by a 82-71 count in the semifinal round of the Maui Invitational.
Andrew Smith netted 13 and Khyle Marshall contributed 10 points and 11 rebounds for the Bulldogs (3-1), who continued their surprising run through the tourney and will square off against host Chaminade or Illinois in Wednesday's final.
P.J. Hairston totaled 15 points and seven boards for the Tar Heels (4-1), who had beaten Mississippi State late Monday. Reggie Bullock and Marcus Paige picked up 13 points apiece in defeat.
UNC trailed by as many as 28 points with just over 11 minutes remaining, but managed to climb to within 77-71 with 1:02 to play thanks to a triple from Paige which ended a 17-4 run.
Forced to foul down the stretch, the gambit backfired. Jackson Aldridge hit 1- of-2 from the line, Chase Stigall made 3-of-4 free throws and then Marshall ended with 1-of-2 to account for the final margin.
Butler scored 10 of the game's first 12 points, then assumed a 21-7 lead just past the midway point of the first half after Erik Fromm's layup.
Leslie McDonald's trey and a James McAdoo bucket helped the Tar Heels get within nine, but that's as far as Butler allowed. Dunham sank a triple, then Roosevelt Jones hit a jumper for a 14-point edge, and the Bulldogs went to the break up 35-18 after Clarke connected on all of his free throws after being fouled from beyond the arc.
Butler's lead grew to 47-24 inside of four minutes played in the second half after another Dunham trey and the rout appeared to be on when Marshall's slam made it 62-34 with 11:18 to play.
North Carolina had won the previous two meetings, scoring over 100 points each time (12/20/92 103-56; 1/24/94 104-64) ... Dunham finished 5-of-9 from long range, part of a 5-for-10 performance from the field ... The Bulldogs shot 47.2 percent and held the Tar Heels to 42.9 percent efficiency which included 32 percent in the first 20 minutes.