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Off the cuff: Theo Pinson rolled an ankle in the first half and didn't return. UNC coach Roy Williams said it was a precaution.

Coach Williams was, of course, happy with the three-point shooting but he didn't want to take so many threes early. "Our big guys weren't moving very well early," he said. As a result, after missing their first three threes, the Tar Heels went on to hit seven of nine to break open a close game.

Carolina shot just 40 percent in the first half but then shot 61 percent in the second half.

UNC players had 25 assists on the night. Coach Williams said he has an unselfish team that looks to pass first.

With all the positives, including just seven turnovers, Coach Williams focused a bit on a negative after the game. Once again, a team shot more than 50 percent from the field against the Tar Heels.

He said the Tar Heels won't be great until they make people miss. He said his defenders need to get up in the shooters' face.


Tar Heels 91, Virginia Tech 72
Heels use the 3-ball to subdue Va. Tech

Virginia Tech started off quick with a couple of threes to go up 8-2 but then North Carolina found its three-ball stroke, using it to cruise to a 91-72 home victory. (1/26)

After missing their first three triples, the Tar Heels hit seven of nine to get up by 10 midway through the first half at 29-19. Carolina went on to hit a season-high 14 threes in 30 attempts over the Virginia Tech zone.

Justin Jackson, 26 points, and Joel Berry, 15 points, each hit five three-pointers.

Jackson hit a pair - one from the right corner and one from straight away - that put the Heels up 29-19 with 9:53 left in the first half. The Hokies never got closer than eight the rest of the way.

"They came out in a zone, wanting to keep the ball from our big guys inside," Berry said. "We were able to knock in some threes."

Carolina got up by 15 at 42-27 on a Jackson floater across the lane in the first half before settling for a 44-33 halftime edge.

A 9-3 run to start the second half forced Virginia Tech to take a timeout. But it didn't help much. After the timeout, Berry found Kennedy Meeks with a no look pass to get the Heels' lead up to 19 at 55-36 before the first TV timeout.

By the midway point of the second half, Carolina had the lead up to 25 after Berry hit a three from the top of the key with 9:51 left.

Soon thereafter, tempers flaired as the players and a ref ended up in a pile as players fought for a loose ball.

Virginia Tech just got more frustrated as a Luke Maye bucket inside gave Carolina its largest lead of the game at 26 points.

The Hokies, led by Seth Allen's 19 points, were able to get the final margin down to 19.

While the threes made the biggest splashes during the game, it was the 43-22 rebounding edge, and the accompanying 20 second-chance points, that allowed the Heels to pull away.

Meeks led the way inside with 15 points and a game-high 14 rebounds.

The Tar Heels, now 19-3 overall and 7-1 in ACC, sit alone atop the conference standings.

Carolina will go for win No. 22 at Miami Saturday.

Box Score

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