Preseason Associated Press All-American Marcus Paige struggled with his shot again for the Tar Heels, finishing with five points on 1-for-8 shooting. He came in shooting just 37 percent on the season.
Kayel Locke scored 17 points for the Spartans (4-7), coached by former Tar Heels player Wes Miller. UNCG got off to a terrible start and never recovered, trailing by 27 points in the first half and 40-19 at the break before falling to 2-52 all-time against ACC opponents.
The Tar Heels were coming off the 84-70 loss to the Wildcats, a game that saw Kentucky shoot 56 percent - it was the first opponent to shoot 40 percent against UNC - while repeatedly getting to the line and converting 18 UNC turnovers into 24 points.
The Tar Heels had a much easier time in a game against a Southern Conference opponent that has been shorthanded due to a series of injuries all season. With their size advantage they dominated the glass by a 51-26 margin and scored 16 second-chance points to go with 15 points off turnovers.
Meeks finished 8 for 9 from the field, while big men Joel James and Isaiah Hicks provided some production off the bench. James, a junior, tied his career high with 11 points on 5-for-7 shooting while Hicks added eight points and six boards. Preseason all-Southern Conference pick Tevon Saddler finished with six points on 3-for-8 shooting for the Spartans. He had scored 24 points in each of his last two games, but picked up a charge for his fourth foul in the first minute of the second half and had fouled out by the 11:15 mark.
UNCG started 3 for 23 from the field and 0 for 9 from 3-point range before finishing the game at 36 percent overall and 5 for 24 (21 percent) behind the arc.
North Carolina: UNC won last year's meeting 81-50 in Chapel Hill. ... Paige didn't manage his first basket until hitting a 3-pointer around the 9:45 mark of the second half after an 0-for-6 start. ... The Tar Heels shot 3-for-14 from 3-point range.
UNCG: Sophomore Diante Baldwin, who returned last week from a preseason knee injury that required surgery, scored a career-high 13 points. ... The program's only wins against ACC teams have come against Virginia Tech last year and Georgia Tech in 2007. ... Miller and assistant coach Jackie Manuel were on UNC's 2005 NCAA championship team.
North Carolina plays No. 12 Ohio State in Chicago on Dec. 20.