CORAL GABLES, Fla. — Harrison Barnes scored 14 of his 23 points in the second half to lead No. 8 North Carolina to a 73-64 victory against Miami at the BankUnited Center on Wednesday night.
The Tar Heels (22-4, 9-2) trailed 35-30 at halftime, but took the lead for good on a pair of Kendall Marshall free throws with 9:07 to play. Those were part of a 10-2 run that gave UNC a 63-55 lead with 6:27 to play.
The Tar Heels didn’t play particularly well, especially during the first half. They shot 37.5 percent in the first 20 minutes and at times appeared out of sorts defensively – especially on the perimeter.
Miami (15-9, 6-5) made five 3-pointers during the first half, but didn’t have the same success – or space to shoot – during the second.
John Henson added 14 points and 11 rebounds for UNC. He and Barnes were the Tar Heels’ only double-digit scorers. Durand Scott led Miami with 15 points.
Here are some thoughts and observations from the first half:
--Miami’s perimeter shooting wasn’t much of a factor the first time these teams met, back in UNC’s 73-56 victory on Jan. 10. The Hurricanes made just 3 of their 16 attempts from behind the 3-point line during that game. Tonight, though, Miami has made five 3’s already. The Hurricanes aren’t shooting a great percentage – they’re just 5-for-15 from 3-point range – but UNC has struggled mightily on the perimeter. The Heels haven’t made a single one of their six 3-point attempts.
--UNC’s frontcourt starters – Harrison Barnes, John Henson and Tyler Zeller – have scored 27 points but the Heels have received very little elsewhere. James Michael McAdoo is the only other player who has scored for the Heels, whose backcourt hasn’t been productive (outside of Kendall Marshall’s four assists). Marshall and Reggie Bullock are a combined 0-for-7 from the field. Miami guards Durand Scott, Malcolm Grant and Trey McKinney-Jones, meanwhile, have combined to score 20 points.
--Miami’s Reggie Johnson picked up two early fouls and wasn’t much of a factor during the first half. Which, of course, is all the more concerning for the Heels, given they still trail by five points even though Johnson has been a non-factor. Johnson has scored just 2 points and has attempted two shots.
--UNC freshman P.J. Hairston, who missed the Virginia game on Saturday with a foot injury, played in the first half but was not a factor. He did not attempt a shot.