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Off the cuff: It wasn't exactly festive at Carolina on New Year's Eve as the students weren't back in school yet. There was no band to play either. But the Tar Heels rang in the new year with an explosive second half.

McAdoo looked good and the Tar Heels go into conference play on a positive note after playing lackluster against Northern Kentucky.

Tar Heels 84, UNC-Wilmington 51
Heels rip UNC-W with strong 2nd half

North Carolina ended the calendar year on a strong note at home to move to 10-3 with an 84-51 drubbing of UNC-Wilmington. (12/31)

The Tar Heels broke open a modest 31-23 halftime lead with a 12-2 run to start the second half. Nate Britt stole a pass and threw to Marcus Paige to start the run and seconds later passed to James Michael McAdoo for a dunk that forced former UNC player Buzz Peterson to call a timeout for Wilmington.

A pair of powerful dunks by JP Tokoto got the crowd going but it was probably loudest at the Smith Center when Kennedy Meeks got a steal, threw an outlet pass to Britt, who lobbed it to McAdoo for a dunk. That made it 61-37 and it never got any closer.

The Heels worked the lead up to 33 with just over four minutes to go and finished ahead by 33, which proved to be the largest lead of the game.

Neither team was sharp to start the game as Carolina hit only one of its first six and UNC-W failed to get a basket in its first 11 attempts. But the Tar Heels got hot in the second half, shooting 63 percent.

UNC coach Roy Williams said that's what happens when you are unselfish, move your body and move the ball around.

"We were much better in the second half," Williams said. "We took some bad shots in the first half. In the second half, the trap helped us. In the first half, it helped them."

McAdoo had perhaps his best game of the year with 23 points and 10 rebounds. Paige finished with 15 points while Leslie McDonald and Brice Johnson finished with 14 points each.

The night was billed as "Happy Blue Year" as the Tar Heels wore blue uniforms, normally reserved for away games. The win was the 2,100th victory in history for Carolina basketball.

The Tar Heels travel to Wake Forest for their first conference game Sunday.


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