Johnson scores 39 to lead No. 6 UNC past Florida State
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) Brice Johnson can now be mentioned in the same breath as Billy Cunningham.
Johnson, a 6-foot-10 senior forward, became only the second player in North Carolina history to have at least 39 points and 23 rebounds in a game as the sixth-ranked Tar Heels beat Florida State 106-90 on Monday night.
Cunningham, a Naismith Memorial Hall of Famer, did it twice in 1964 with 40 points and 28 rebounds against Maryland on Jan. 13, and 48 points and 25 rebounds against Tulane on Dec. 10.
''That was a man's night,'' North Carolina coach Roy Williams said. ''I've had guys, Nick Collison against Duke one time had over 20 points, 20 rebounds. Same thing against Texas. Sean May, last game of the regular season over 20 points and rebounds. . But this is about as good as any I've ever seen. Particularly on the road.''
It was the first 20-20 game for a Tar Heel since Tyler Zeller had 20 points and 22 rebounds against Ohio in the 2012 NCAA Tournament.
Johnson's performance on the boards was a big key to North Carolina's win. He had seven of the Tar Heels' 18 offensive rebounds as they outscored the Seminoles 50-30 in the paint.
The Seminoles took a 56-55 lead early in the second half on a layup by Malik Beasley but the Tar Heels followed that up with a 15-6 run as Johnson scored nine straight points. After Florida State got within 74-70 on a 3 by Devon Bookert, North Carolina went on an 11-2 run to put it out of reach.
''Man, can't really put it into perspective. It was a great night for me,'' Johnson said. ''I was looking at the rebounds the entire time. I kept telling myself I wanted more than 20. It's always been a goal I had.''
Marcus Paige added 30 points for the Tar Heels (14-2, 3-0 Atlantic Coast Conference), who have won seven straight. It is the first time since 1998 that UNC had two players with 30 or more points in a game. Joel Barry II added 12 points.
Xavier Rathan-Mayes led Florida State with a season-high 30 points while Dwayne Bacon added 18 and Beasley 15. After winning six straight, the Seminoles (10-5, 0-2) have lost two in a row.
PERFECT THROUGH THREE
It is only the third time in Williams' 14 seasons at UNC that the Tar Heels have won their first three games in conference play. The last time was 2007-08.
RATHAN-MAYES EXCELS VS. UNC
Rathan-Mayes has had four 30-point games in ACC play, including two against the Tar Heels. He scored 35 in a loss last season at the Smith Center. The 6-foot-4 sophomore was 8 of 16 from the field, including 7 of 9 on 3-pointers.
''Bright lights. Whenever you see North Carolina it is kind of a switch that goes off,'' Rathan-Mayes said. ''I was lucky enough to have my dad (former Florida State standout Tharon Mayes) come here for this game. Whenever I am able to get in the gym with him and forget all the stuff going on the other side and get back to fundamentals.''
UNC: The Tar Heels have won six straight over the Seminoles. ... It was the first time North Carolina scored over 100 points on the road since Feb. 1, 2011, against Boston College. ... North Carolina shot a season-low 36.6 percent in the first half but a season-high 65.7 percent in the second.
Florida State: The Seminoles trailed 19-5 with 13:52 remaining in the first half but fought its way back to trail 41-37 at halftime.
UNC is at Syracuse on Saturday
Florida State travels to No. 12 Miami on Saturday
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