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Off the cuff: If the Tar Heels start a game on the road like they started this home game, they will almost surely lose.

Carolina missed two open threes in the first minute or so and then turned the ball over six times in the first eight minutes as Syracuse jumped out to a 16-9 lead.

That turned out to be the visitors largest lead however as the Tar Heels opened up a nip-and-tuck game in the last two minutes.

There were eight ties and nine lead changes before Nate Britt's three from the right side with 8:10 to go put the Heels up for good.

Britt, who has recently lost a grandparent and had 15 stitches in his mouth, came through with perhaps his best game as a Tar Heel, scoring 17 points on four of five three pointers.

Tar Heels 93, Syracuse 83
UNC turns it on in 2nd half to top 'Cuse

Turn, turn, turn. In the first half, North Carolina turned it over but in the second half the Tar Heels turned it on as they turned a five-point halftime deficit into a 10-point win, 93-83, over Syracuse. (1/26)

Down 40-35 at the half, the Tar Heels shot 62 percent from the floor in the second half and scored 58 points.

"Everything looks better when the balls goes in the basket," UNC coach Roy Williams said.

But Carolina turned the ball over 13 times in the first half, leading to 16 Syracuse points. The Heels finished with a season-high 20 turnovers after a season-low five turnovers in their last game.

"(At the half) I challenged them for toughness in the second half," Williams said. "I thought we were tougher physically and mentally, probably more so mentally."

The only thing consistent about each half for the Heels was the play of Nate Britt, who scored eight in the first half and nine in the second half for a career-high 17 points, including four three-pointers.

Britt and Marcus Paige each hit back-to-back triples during a key point in the second half.

Despite coming out of the locker room on fire, the Tar Heels still trailed 56-50 with 13 minutes to play.

Over a 45-second span, Paige hit two threes to tie the score at 56. Fewer than three minutes later, with the Heels trailing 62-61, Britt hit a pair of threes, one from the right side and one from the left. That put the Heels up 67-62 and they never trailed again.

Syracuse pulled within two at 74-72 but Carolina went on an 8-1 run highlighted by six points from Brice Johnson to go up 82-73.

It never got closer than seven the rest of the way while the lead mushroomed to 11 before the Tar Heels settled for the 10-point victory.

Rakeem Christmas, with 22 points and 12 rebounds, and Trevor Cooney, with 28 points after averaging 14 this season, kept Syracuse in the game. But Carolina got 25 bench points compared to zero for Syracuse.

Four Tar Heels scored in double figures with Paige leading the way with 22 points to go along with eight assists and no turnovers. Johnson, Britt and Kennedy Meeks scored 17 each.

Carolina improves to 17-4 overall and 7-1 in the ACC while Syracuse falls to 14-7 overall and 5-3 in the league.


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