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Off the cuff: UNC coach Roy Williams said he challenged upperclassmen Cam Johnson and Luke Maye at the half, telling them they stunk it up against Texas and were stinking it up again. While those starters came through, so did the bench as several Heels got in foul trouble. Maye ended up fouling out of his second game ever and White was saddled with four fouls.

Leaky Black came on at point guard for White and played admirably - not turning the ball over at all. He scored five points and had a couple of assists in 18 minutes. In 14 minutes of play, sub Brandon Robinson also did not turn the ball over while scoring a bucket, dishing out four assists and picking up a couple of steals.

Black said that the subs were "trying to give our team a lift - give a little push."

As long as the subs take care of the basketball like they've been doing and keep up the intensity shown in the UCLA game, they'll get plenty of minutes - and allow the starters some rest or cover for them when they are in foul trouble.

Despite an opening round loss, this tournament experience will help the Heels down the road.

Tar Heels 94, UCLA 78
Heels bounce back over No. 17 Bruins

North Carolina bounced back from its first lost and bounced back from an 11-point deficit to defeat No. 17 UCLA going away, 94-78, in the Las Vegas Invitational. (11/23)

The Tar Heels had lost to unranked Texas on Thanksgiving and midway through the first half of their game Friday, it looked as if the losing might continue.

Carolina trailed 32-21 but cut the margin to five at the half, 46-41, after a Nassir Little dunk and Cam Johnson three from the top of the key.

Johnson kept the momentum going in the second half by scoring seven in a row, the last two coming after a steal and layup that tied the score at 48-all.

A Luke Maye rebound and follow shot gave the Heels their first lead at 52-51 but the lead went back and forth until Little started an 11-0 run that put Carolina in control midway through the second half.

Little drove the lane and slammed down a contested dunk to put the Heels up for good at 63-62. By the time the run ended, UNC led 71-62. A back breaker for the Bruins came when Maye missed the second of two free throws, Johnson punched the rebound out and freshman Coby White drained a three from the left sideline.

It never got closer than seven the rest of the way with the final 16-point margin being the Tar Heels' largest lead of the game.

Five Carolina players, led by White's 19, scored in double figures. Maye contributed 16, Kenny Williams added 15 while Johnson and Little got 14 each.

UNC coach Roy Williams said his team's defensive intensity was much better against UCLA. "It was a big game for us," he said. "We've got three teams coming up in the next five games that could be in the top five or six in the country."

Between now and Dec. 22, the Heels play powerhouses Michigan, Gonzaga and Kentucky. "It wouldn't have been nice to lose both games - to come out of here without a win," he said of the Las Vegas Invitational.

UCLA falls to 4-2 while North Carolina, which travels to Michigan next Wednesday, improves to 6-1.

Box score

UNC's Nassir White scored 14 for the Tar Heels. (UNC Sports Information photo)

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