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With North Carolina’s loss to Auburn and Kentucky holding on to beat Houston, two SEC teams will square off with a chance to go to the Final 4. USA TODAY

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — When Danjel Purifoy caught the ball on the left wing Friday night, steps from the Auburn bench, he heard Bruce Pearl, speaking to him very softly — almost “a whisper,” Purifoy said.

“Stick it,” the Tigers’ coach said.

Purifoy did.

Next possession, when he found himself with the ball in the same spot, he got the same instruction: “Stick it.” He did.

And then the next possession, too: Same spot. “Stick it.” He did.

“The third one, it

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