Harrison Barnes scored a season-high 26
points to help No. 5 North Carolina beat Texas 82-63 on Wednesday
John Henson added 14 points for the Tar Heels (11-2), who won
their fifth straight and avenged last season's last-second loss to
North Carolina went on a 13-1 run to build a double-digit lead
midway through the first half and never looked back, turning a
39-23 halftime lead into a 24-point margin late in the game.
Barnes was coming off consecutive nine-point performances, but
the sophomore looked far more active and assertive against the
Longhorns by attacking the rim or posting up on shorter defenders.
He made 9 of 15 shots and finished with 10 rebounds, part of UNC's
49-34 advantage on the glass.
J'Covan Brown was one of three players with 16 points for Texas
(9-3), which shot just 35 percent and never recovered from a slow
It was a far more focused performance by North Carolina after
looking flat and disinterested during Monday night's 50-point win
against Nicholls State. The Tar Heels showed just enough spark in
the second half of that one to talk coach Roy Williams out of an
early morning practice the next day, while Williams said he didn't
do a good job of getting his team ready to play.
The Tar Heels looked ready this time around - perhaps partly due
to what happened in last year's meeting.
The Longhorns had beaten North Carolina in each of the previous
two Decembers. Last year, Cory Joseph hit a turnaround jumper with
1.4 seconds left to help Texas win 78-76 in Greensboro, about an
hour west of Chapel Hill. Two years ago, the Longhorns won 103-90
in Cowboys Stadium.
In fact, Texas had won the past four meetings dating to 1995,
including a 78-75 win over the Tar Heels in the second round of the
2004 NCAA tournament to end Williams' first season with his alma
The game also marked the return of Texas coach Rick Barnes, a
North Carolina native who rankled fans in the Smith Center during
four visits as Clemson's head coach from 1995-98.
But there just wasn't the same kind of spice from those days,
which included Barnes jokingly threatening to shed his suit jacket
and enter the game because he had just four players left late in an
incredibly physical matchup in 1998. Instead, there was only North
Carolina running off a flurry of highlight-reel plays midway
through the first half to charge up the crowd and take control.
First came freshman P.J. Hairston bowling over Julien Lewis for
an emphatic one-handed transition slam that knocked Lewis to the
court. Hairston missed the free throw, but John Henson stuffed home
a missed stickback from Tyler Zeller to send the crowd into another
On the next possession, Henson tapped a pass-ahead from Kendall
Marshall in traffic to Reggie Bullock for a layup that pushed it to
30-16 with about 5 minutes left in the first half.
The Longhorns had won seven straight and were holding teams to
an average of 54 points and 33 percent shooting during that
stretch. They had also outrebounded opponents by nearly 17 per game
in the past four, though they couldn't continue that success
against the Tar Heels and got no closer than 13 points the rest of