No. 17 North Carolina 99, VMI 76
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) _ Antawn Jamison hit all but two of his 13 shots, scoring 25 points as No. 17 North Carolina ran away to a 99-76 victory over Virginia Military Institute Thursday night.
Jamison got 20 of his points in the first half, hitting all nine shots he attempted, as North Carolina took full advantage of its height and hit 68.8 percent of its field goals, the best shooting performance in a half this season for the Tar Heels. It also helped the Tar Heels break their seven-game streak of trailing at intermission.
About the only downside for North Carolina (19-7) was when Vince Carter turned his right ankle late in the first half when he stepped on the foot of a VMI player. Carter returned to the game in the second half and finished with eight points.
North Carolina has won the last 32 games in the series with VMI, and 35 of the 39 contests between the schools. The victory placed Dean Smith one win away from his 850th career victory _ 26 shy of the all-time mark held by Kentucky’s Adolph Rupp. It brought the Tar Heels one game closer to their 26th straight season of 20 wins or more.
The Keydets (15-9) hadn’t beaten the Tar Heels since the 1952-53 season, when both schools were members of the Southern Conference.
It didn’t take North Carolina long to decide things before a less-than-capacity Smith Center crowd that didn’t make a lot of noise. After Lawrence Gullette scored on a transition basket that tied the score at 5, the Tar Heels launched a 15-2 run in which Jamison scored 10 points.
Andre Quarles hit a 3-pointer that drew the Keydets to 26-17 with 9:03 left in the half. The Tar Heels scored the next nine points _ Jamison had a pair of baskets _ and North Carolina was never seriously threatened again.
The Keydets’ best run was a 12-4 burst to start the second half. Maurice Spencer’s 3-pointer with 16:53 left drew VMI to 57-47, but a 2-for-15 shooting run combined with a 19-6 North Carolina surge essentially settled the game.
Jeff McInnis got 15 points, Serge Zwikker 14 and Dante Calabria 13 for the Tar Heels. Ademola Okulaja had 11 and Carter finished with 10.
Gullette finished with 20 and Bobby Prince got all 14 of his points in the second half for the Keydets.