Second-half run pushes #5 UNC over UVa.
Sophomore forward Harrison Barnes scored 14 points and had a game-high 11 rebounds for the Tar Heels and junior forward John Henson scored 10 points and had 10 rebounds,
Senior forward Mike Scott scored 18 points for Virginia and also had six rebounds. Junior guard Jontel Evans added 12 points and five assists for the Cavaliers.
North Carolina out-rebounded Virginia 52-32 and had 23 offensive rebounds to eight for UVa. The Tar Heels had 23-second chance points to nine for the Cavaliers.
The victory improved North Carolina’s overall record to 21-4 and the Tar Heels are now 8-2 in the ACC.
The loss dropped Virginia’s overall record to 19-5 and the Cavaliers are 6-4 in the ACC.
In this week’s national rankings, UVa is 19th in The Associated Press poll and 20th in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll. North Carolina is ranked fifth in both polls.
Virginia led by seven points twice in the first half, the second time at 27-20 with 5:01 left in the half after an old-fashioned three-point play by freshman guard Malcolm Brogdon. North Carolina out-scored Virginia 15-5 the rest of the half to take 35-32 lead at halftime. Zeller scored eight of the Tar Heels’ points in the run that closed the half.
Scott scored 10 points for the Cavaliers in the first half, but picked up his second foul with 9:10 left in the half and played only 10 of the game’s first 20 minutes. He played 17 minutes in the second half.
Two three-point field goals by sophomore guard Joe Harris and a basket by Scott keyed an 8-2 UVa run that gave the Cavaliers a 40-37 lead with 16:50 left in the game.
The Tar Heels came right back with an 8-1 run to take the lead for good at 45-41 with 14:01 remaining as Zeller scored five points in that North Carolina surge.
The Cavaliers were still within five points (49-44) with 10:41 to play, but North Carolina scored seven consecutive points, four by Zeller, to build a 56-44 lead with 7:44 remaining and Virginia didn’t get the Tar Heels’ lead under 10 points the rest of the game.
North Carolina shot 35.3 percent (24-68) from the field for the game, including 10.0 percent (1-10) from three-point range, and 77.8 percent (21-27) from the free-throw line
Virginia shot 36.4 percent (20-55) from the field, including 18.8 percent (3-16) from three-point range, and 69.2 percent (9-13) from the free-throw line.
UVa returns to action on Tuesday (Feb. 14) when the Cavaliers play at Clemson. That game is scheduled to begin at 7:00 p.m. and will be televised by ESPNU.