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Off the cuff: UNC coach Roy Williams seemed a little subdued after the impressive victory over Pittsburgh. With the team shooting so well, that's probably not unexpected but perhaps he was just happy to be back on the bench.

"I'm just happy I could finish the dad gum game," he said with a laugh. But many a truthful word is spoken in jest.

Justin Jackson seems to be playing with a lot more confidence and Theo Pinson, who has made some head-scratching decisions this year, dished out six assists and turned the ball over just once.

Kennedy Meeks is not the powerhouse many expected this year but Brice Johnson and Isaiah Hicks are doing just fine inside, thank you.

With Paige and Berry shooting well, this will be a tough team to beat down the stretch if the Heels can sustain the success it had against Pitt, which is a pretty good ball club.

Freshman Luke Maye even got in the act late by swishing a three pointer.


Tar Heels 85, Pittsburgh 64
Tar Heels coast over Pittsburgh

North Carolina got out to a 13-point lead early, survived several Pittsburgh runs, and used hot shooting to work the margin to 26 before settling for an 85-64 home victory over the Panthers. (2/14)

The Tar Heels shot a season-high 59.3 percent from the field with 41 points coming close in the paint. Big-man Brice Johnson led five Heels in double figures with 19 points.

But it was the long ball that propeled the Tar Heels into big leads. Up 11-4, Carolina got back-to-back threes by Joel Berry and Nate Britt to put the Heels up 17-4 seven minutes into the game. Marcus Paige swished a three from the left wing with a minute left in the first half to give the Heels a 42-27 lead.

The Panthers, down by 13 at the half, cut the lead to seven in the first five minutes of the second half. But Carolina went on a 13-0 run over the next five minutes to seize control again. Those dynamic minutes included a Paige three, an Isaiah Hicks athletic leap for a bucket and a swift pass from Johnson to Kennedy Meeks for a deuce.

When Berry stole a pass and went in for a lay in with five minutes left, the Heels reached their highest margin at 78-52.

"You know what I'm going to say," UNC coach Roy Williams said. "Everything looks better when the ball goes in the basket."

He said not only did the Heels shoot better but his team was more active, made good passes and made better effort defensively.

Carolina, which turned the ball over 11 times, went nine minutes without turning the ball over and took advantage of Pittsburgh turnovers. The Panthers turned it over 19 times and the Tar Heels got 24 points off those turnovers.

UNC came up with 10 steals and six blocked shots en route to the home victory.

After Johnson's 19 points, Paige scored 15 while Justin Jackson had 14 for his second good game in a row. Jackson also dished out six assists and blocked two shots. Berry scored 13 points and came down with six rebounds. Hicks added 10 points off the bench.

Michael Young, who did not start, led the Panthers, now 17-7 overall and 6-6 in the ACC, with 15 points.

The Tar Heels, now 21-4 and 11-2 in the ACC, host rival Duke Wednesday night.


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