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Off the cuff: Against Boston College, there were a couple of plays that felt big at the time and were.

After Carolina got out to an 11-point first-half lead, BC went wild from beyond the three-point line and cut the margin to one at 29-28. But Marcus Paige didn't allow the Eagles to get a lead as he came back by rolling in a three.

In the second half, with the Eagles once again nipping at their heels at 59-57, Brice Johnson managed to get away inside and threw down a dunk from behind the basket. Following a BC turnover, Kennedy Meeks tipped in a basket.

Despite getting close, BC never led after a steal and dunk by Brice Johnson, with some pressuring help by JP Tokoto, made it 8-7 five minutes in.

Leslie McDonald got his first start of the year and the second of his career in place of Nate Britt, who has had the turnover bug lately. Meanwhile, former walk-on Jackson Simmons earned his first start by impressing Coach Williams with his effort. Unfortunately, Simmons was limited in action after suffering a cut to his forehead that reportedly took four stitches.

Tar Heels 82, Boston College 71
Heels avoid last place with win over BC

North Carolina, just one loss away from its worst ever start to the ACC season, saw five players reach double figures in an 82-71 home victory over a Boston College team that falls into last place in the conference. (1/18)

The Tar Heels got 21 points from Marcus Paige, 17 from James Michael McAdoo, 14 from JP Tokoto, 10 from Leslie McDonald and 10 from Kennedy Meeks to avoid a first-ever 0-4 ACC start.

Instead, Boston College falls into the ACC cellar at 1-4 while the win lifts the Tar Heels to 1-3 with a game looming Monday night at Virginia, in a game that should be a tougher challenge.

"It's a better feeling in that lockerroom," UNC coach Roy Williams said, adding that he was pleased and relieved with the effort.

Carolina, which has had trouble shooting, shot above 50 percent in both halves. "The ball went in the baskets," Williams said. "The stars and moon were aligned."

A looping runner by Paige found the bottom of the basket midway through the first half to give the Tar Heels their largest lead of the first half at 22-11. But Boston College got hot from beyond the arc, hitting five of its next six three attempts, to pull within a point at 29-28 with 4:38 left in the first half.

Paige rolled in a three and hit a jumper at the buzzer to keep the Tar Heels out front with a 36-32 halftime lead.

The lead hovered between three and seven points through the first 10 minutes of the second half as Carolina could not pull away.

BC inched to within two at 59-57 with 9:08 left in the end but the Tar Heels went on a mini 6-0 run led by a Brice Johnson dunk and a Kennedy Meeks tip to stave off the Eagles.

McDonald hit a three from the right wing to give the Tar Heels a double-digit lead at 71-61 with 4:28 to go. It never got closer than seven again as the Heels worked the lead up to 14 in the last minute.

The Tar Heels turned 18 BC turnovers into 24 points.

Carolina, now 11-6 overall, travel to Charlottesville for a Monday night game.



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