• 57°

Johnson leads No. 9 North Carolina past Georgia Tech, 77-54

Tar Heels roll in Atlanta

North Carolina forward Garrison Brooks (15) dunks during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Georgia Tech in Atlanta, Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2019. (AP Photo/Todd Kirkland)

By MATT WINKELJOHN, Associated Press
ATLANTA (AP) — Cameron Johnson and Coby White showed North Carolina is tough to beat and that the Tar Heels might be able to dream big.
Johnson scored a game-high 22 points, including eight straight to open the second half, as No. 9 North Carolina defeated Georgia Tech 77-54 Tuesday night.
North Carolina went on runs of 20-5 and 34-11 in the lopsided win.
Johnson and White, who scored 19 points, combined to make nine 3-pointers and the Tar Heels (16-4, 6-1 ACC) shot 13 for 27 from beyond the arc.
The performance comes one game after the Tar Heels made 16 of 34 3s in a 103-82 win over Virginia Tech.
The Yellow Jackets entered the game No. 2 in the nation in 3-point defense, allowing just a 26.5 percent conversion rate. North Carolina blitzed Georgia Tech from long distance.
But North Carolina head coach Roy Williams wasn’t ready to dream in front of reporters. Instead, Georgia Tech coach Josh Pastner shed some light on his thinking.
“Coach Williams told me after the game, he says, ‘That was our best 10-minute stretch all year. If we play like that, we’ll win the national championship,'” Pastner said after his team was outscored by 33 points from beyond the 3-point arc.
Tech shot 2 for 16 from long distance.
“I think people are sleeping on them. I know they’re ninth in the country, but nobody’s really talking about them,” Pastner said. “But they’re really good and they’re playing at a very high level.”
Georgia Tech (11-10, 3-5) managed to muddy the game in the first half, at least in the paint with the big man tandem of Abdoulaye Gueye and center James Banks III anchoring their zone.
Carolina built a 31-24 halftime lead despite shooting 7 of 17, but the Tar Heels hit 5 of 12 from long distance and the Jackets connected on just 1 of 10.
“Eight turnovers in the first half: I was very disappointed in that …,” Williams said. “To miss 32 shots (in the game) and get seven offensive rebounds, I was not pleased.”
Gueye led the Jackets with 14 points, but Tech was never in the game after North Carolina made seven of its first eight shots in the second half, including a pair of 3-pointers by Johnson and two more by White. He finished with 19 points on 5-of-9 3-point shooting. The freshman added a career-high eight assists.
Johnson, a graduate transfer from Pitt, hit 3-pointers on consecutive possessions to start the second half, and then dunked off a steal.
Eventually, the Tar Heels pulled Georgia Tech out of its preferred zone, but it was too late. North Carolina built a lead of 30 points when freshman Nassir Little dunked off a steal to push the margin to 65-35 with 10:18 left.
“I think we had a pretty good game plan coming in,” said Johnson, who didn’t play the final 3:29. “Their zone, in practice we got a good look at it. … We have a lot of guys that can score, and we have a lot of guys that can score a lot of points.”
Georgia Tech fell behind 31-21 when Johnson made a pair of free throws with 1:10 left in the first half.
Tech made just 10 of 32 shots, and missed its first nine 3-point shots before Michael Devoe connected from beyond the arc with 56 seconds remaining.
INJURIES ON BOTH SIDES
North Carolina freshman reserve guard Leaky Black was helped from the court with an injury to his left ankle or leg with 8:28 remaining in the game. … Tech starting point guard Jose Alvarado was helped to the locker room with 5:33 left with what appeared to be a right ankle or foot injury.
BIG PICTURE
North Carolina: Williams broke a third-place tie with former Maryland coach Gary Williams with his 211th ACC victory, including regular season and tournament games. Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski (480) and former UNC coach Dean Smith (422) are 1-2.
Georgia Tech: The Yellow Jackets lost track of North Carolina shooters and allowed their most 3-pointers in a game this season. Previously, Arkansas made 10 of 32 against Tech, and Wake Forest made 9 of 22, but the Jackets won both games with stellar shooting of their own. On Tuesday, they were not only 2 of 16 on 3-pointers, but 18 of 38 in the paint. “We had that stretch to start the game where we could have been up 10-0,” Pastner said. “We just missed open shots and layups, and that’s just a big deal.”
UP NEXT
North Carolina: Saturday at No. 15 Louisville.
Georgia Tech: At No. 25 Florida State on Saturday.
___
More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/Collegebasketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

Comments

East Spencer

East Spencer draws crowd for annual community day

Elections

In Rowan’s legislative races, Howard, Warren get off to strongest start in fundraising

Business

From Navy SEAL to Medicare agent, Trent Waller looks to continue serving his community

Elections

In 13th Congressional District race, Budd, Huffman differ on government’s role in COVID-19 help

Local

Rowan County Telecommunications joins new state digital 911 system

Education

School board will consider scheduling public hearings for Faith, Enochville closures

Business

Biz Roundup: Food Lion makes donation to support racial equality and justice

Elections

Republicans rally supporters at Saturday lunch

Elections

Budd holds wide lead over Huffman in fundraising, cash on hand

BREAKING NEWS

UPDATED: 1 shot, 5 in custody after shooting at haunted house that attracted 1,000 visitors

Nation/World

Trump picks conservative Amy Coney Barrett to fill Supreme Court seat

Coronavirus

Deadly September propels Rowan County to 100 deaths from COVID-19

Crime

Highway Patrol charges man in hit-and-run after finding vehicle hidden in woods

Elections

NC elections board, Republicans at odds over absentee ballot rule changes

News

Voters struggling with witness rules in early voting

News

Trump expected to announce conservative Amy Coney Barrett for Supreme Court

Coronavirus

County reports COVID-19 percent positive rate of 8%

Local

Rowan County United Way sets $1.5 million goal at drive-in kickoff event

Crime

Blotter: Adult daughters accused of beating up mother

China Grove

China Grove firefighters injured after truck overturns

Business

Salisbury VA to reopen entry, exit gates

Crime

Sheriff’s Office looking for suspect in Burlington Coat Factory theft

Elections

Requests for absentee ballots top 9,000 in Rowan

Local

Spencer approves supplemental USDA loan for Park Plaza project