Anthony Gruppuso, USA Today Sports

North Carolina 89, UCLA 76

BROOKLYN, N.Y. -- Brice Johnson scored 27 points, the second straight game he set his career high, and No. 11 North Carolina overcame a horrible game from beyond the 3-point arc to beat No. 22 UCLA 89-76 on Saturday in the CBS Sports Classic at Barclays Center.

Box Score

The senior forward missed his first shot from the field then didn't miss again, finishing 11 for 12 as he bettered the 25 points he scored earlier this week against Tulane. Johnson came into the game averaging 14.6 points and shooting 61 percent from the field.

The Tar Heels (9-2), who trailed by 11 points in the first half, broke the game open with a 13-0 run that gave them a 73-57 lead with 6:24 to play. Johnson had four points in the run and when UCLA (8-4) broke its 4:28 scoring drought, Johnson answered immediately to restore the 16-point lead.

Joel Berry II had a career-high 17 points for the Tar Heels, who finished 4 for 19 from 3-point range. They entered the game shooting 36.8 percent from beyond the arc. Marcus Paige had 10 points and six assists for North Carolina, which has won six of seven.

Isaac Hamilton had 23 points on 9-of-12 shooting for the Bruins, who beat two ranked teams -- then-No. 1 Kentucky and then-No. 20 Gonzaga -- in the last nine days. Hamilton made 4 of 5 attempts from 3-point range as the Bruins finished 8 of 17 from beyond the arc. They committed 17 turnovers, many unforced. Tony Parker had 13 points and 11 rebounds for UCLA, which had won five straight since returning from the Maui Invitational.

North Carolina didn't start to cut into the 11-point deficit until the Tar Heels stopped firing from beyond the 3-point arc. Once the ball started going inside they were able to go on a run and it was Johnson who keyed it, scoring all 13 of his first-half points in the final 7 minutes.

UCLA's problem wasn't shooting, it was taking care of the ball. The Bruins finished the half with 11 turnovers, one off what they average for a game.


North Carolina: Junior forward Kennedy Meeks missed his second game with a bruised left knee. He is expected to miss several weeks, according to the school. ... Paige has 1,495 points as he tries to become the 29th player in North Carolina history to score 1,500 points. ... North Carolina beat Ohio State 82-74 in last year's CBS Sports Classic. ... North Carolina hit its first shot of the game -- a 3 by Paige -- then missed the next seven. It was worse from long range. Paige's 3 was the only one the Tar Heels made in the first half in 11 attempts. ... Former North Carolina guard Wayne Ellington, who plays for the Brooklyn Nets, was in the crowd.


North Carolina hosts Appalachian State on Monday.

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