Marcus Paige added 14 points for the Tar Heels (11-2), who took a double-digit lead by midway through the first half and led by 19 by halftime -- though they had some trouble putting the game out of reach against the Spartans (4-8). UNC led by at least 11 points throughout the second half though it didn't land a finishing blow until a 9-0 burst in the final 8 minutes stretched the lead.
The Tar Heels had plenty of balance with six players in double figures, helping them shoot 55 percent while dominating the boards against the undersized Spartans.
Francis Alonso scored 11 of his 17 points after halftime to help UNCG hang around, including three of the Spartans' four second-half 3s-pointers.
This marked UNCG's third loss against instate Atlantic Coast Conference teams in the past two weeks. Coached by former UNC guard Wes Miller, the Spartans lost by 10 at Wake Forest on Dec. 15 and gave North Carolina State some headaches before falling 58-52 last week in Raleigh.
The margin on this one ended up much bigger, once the Tar Heels finally pulled away to start a stretch of four games in eight days. And the next three of those start the 18-game grind of the ACC race these Tar Heels were the preseason pick to win.
UNC opens league play here Wednesday against Clemson, which has lost all 57 meetings in Chapel Hill all-time. Then comes Saturday's home game against Georgia Tech and a trip to Florida State next Monday.
UNC: The Tar Heels finished with a 43-22 rebounding advantage, leading to 18 second-chance points. . Justin Jackson also scored 14. . Junior forward Kennedy Meeks, who is averaging 12.3 points and is second on the team with 7.4 rebounds, missed his fourth straight game. He was expected to miss at least two weeks and Monday's game marked two weeks since the announcement.
UNC hosts Clemson on Wednesday night.