Johnson helps No. 1 North Carolina beat Wofford 78-58
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) No. 1 North Carolina had a distinct size advantage against Wofford. The Tar Heels used it to eventually wear down the pesky Terriers.
Brice Johnson had 16 points and 14 rebounds, and North Carolina beat Wofford 78-58 on Wednesday night in the CBE Hall of Fame Classic.
Kennedy Meeks and Joel Berry II added 16 apiece for the Tar Heels (3-0). They shot 52.5 percent, outscored the Terriers 50-18 in the paint and outrebounded them 42-24 but couldn't pull away until late.
Wofford didn't have a starter taller than 6-foot-7 and the only player on the roster taller than 6-8 played just 14 minutes.
''We should have used our size to our advantage instead of shooting turnaround jumpers and 10-foot hooks,'' Johnson said, adding that assistant coach Hubert Davis told the big men that ''I would be offended if they have guys that size on you guys and they're not (double-teaming) the post.''
Jaylen Allen scored 15 points for the Terriers (0-2).
''I was just thrilled with how hard we played and how competitive we were,'' Wofford coach Mike Young said. ''I can't say I was surprised. ... I told them after the game that (until now) I'd never gotten my tail whipped by 20 ... and felt really, really good about our team.''
The Terriers hit nine 3-pointers and twice fell behind by double figures before rallying to make it a one-possession game. They threatened to do it again when Allen's 3 made it 58-50 with 9 minutes left.
Johnson followed with a stickback before Nate Britt had consecutive steal-and-scores, the second of which gave the Tar Heels their largest lead to that point - 64-50 - with 8 minutes to play.
Wofford never got closer than 11 after that while North Carolina pulled away, finally stretching the lead to 20 on Berry's jumper with about 90 seconds remaining.
Justin Gordon had 12 points and Spencer Collins added 11 points for Wofford, which returned three starters from a team coming off a 28-7 finish and a fourth NCAA Tournament berth in six years.
Isaiah Hicks finished with 12 points for the Tar Heels, who have won all three of their games by at least 20 points.
For much of this one, the Terriers never let the Tar Heels pull too far ahead, finding an answer every time North Carolina thought it had created some breathing room.
The Tar Heels led 42-31 on Johnson's putback with 17 1/2 minutes to play before Wofford made things tense, hitting two 3s and converting a three-point play before Allen's bucket with 13 1/2 minutes left made it 50-47.
North Carolina coach Roy Williams isn't worried about Justin Jackson's rough night. The sophomore forward was 2 of 8 from the field, missed all three of his 3-pointers - making him 0 for 9 for the season from long range - and finished with five points. Williams says Jackson was the team's third-best player during the preseason. ''What you need to do is see it go in once,'' Williams said. ''We don't go, `Woe is me.' ... It's going to go in the basket for him.''
The Terriers have visited all three North Carolina Triangle schools in the last 12 months. They stunned N.C. State last December before losing at Duke 17 days later. They're now 2-10 the four ACC schools in the state, but before this one, they had won two of their last three.
Wofford: This was Wofford's first game against a top-ranked team and its first against the Tar Heels since 1926. The Terriers have never beaten a Top 25 opponent.
North Carolina: The Tar Heels have shot at least 50 percent in each of their three wins, but they were just 1 of 9 from 3-point range in this one. Their 78 points was a season low while their 58 points allowed was a season best.
Wofford is home against Maryland-Eastern Shore on Saturday.
North Carolina is at Northern Iowa on Saturday.
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