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No. 5 North Carolina pulls away from Ohio State

By Les East, The Sports Xchange
No. 5 North Carolina pulls away from Ohio State
North Carolina Tar Heels Basketball Twitter

NEW ORLEANS -- Joel Berry II and Theo Pinson scored 19 points each as No. 5 North Carolina defeated Ohio State 86-72 in the first game of the CBS Sports Classic on Saturday afternoon in the Smoothie King Center.

Cameron Johnson, playing his second game since coming back from knee surgery, scored 14 points and Jalek Felton scored 12. Felton made 4 of 5 3-pointers and the Tar Heels (11-2) made 13 of 25.

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Keita Bates-Diop led the Buckeyes (10-4) with 26 points, C.J. Jackson scored 19 and Kaleb Wesson had 12.

No. 7 Kentucky and UCLA met in the second game of the doubleheader.

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North Carolina led 41-27 at halftime, but Ohio State scored the first five points of the second half.

Berry's 3-pointer stopped the run and started a 10-4 push that gave the Tar Heels a 51-36 lead.

The Buckeyes scored six consecutive points before Berry scored on consecutive drives and turned the second into a three-point play after being fouled. That gave North Carolina a 56-42 lead with 10:21 remaining.

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Jae'Sean Tate scored consecutive baskets for Ohio State, but Felton and Brandon Robinson each made a 3-pointer to help give the Tar Heels a 62-48 lead.

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Wesson scored eight consecutive Ohio State points, but the Buckeyes didn't get closer than 10 points until Bates-Diop made a 3-pointer to make it 78-69 with 1:10 left. But they got no closer.

The score was tied 23-23 before Felton and Kenny Williams made consecutive 3-pointers and Garrison Brooks added a layup for a 31-23 North Carolina lead.

Jackson scored four straight points for the Buckeyes before Berry and Johnson made 3-pointers to start a 10-0 run that left the Tar Heels with a 41-27 halftime lead. They made 9 of 16 3-pointers in the first half.

NOTES: The North Carolina bench outscored the Ohio State bench 32-6. ... It was the 3,000th basketball game in North Carolina history. ... The Tar Heels rebounded from a 79-75 upset loss at home against Wofford on Wednesday night. ... This was Carolina's final nonconference game of the regular season. ... Ohio State had won its last five games. ... The Buckeyes have now played both schools that were in last year's NCAA title game, having lost to runner-up Gonzaga 86-59 on Nov. 23.

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