In the first ever ranked matchup between the two teams, No. 11 UNC ran away from No. 10 Virginia Tech, 103-82 on Monday night in the Smith Center.
The Tar Heels (15-4, 5-1 ACC) made a season-high 16 3-pointers against the Hokies (15-3, 4-2 ACC) and shot 53.7 percent from the field. They also had 25 assists and forced 16 Virginia Tech turnovers.
Virginia Tech’s Justin Robinson and UNC’s Garrison Brooks traded blows to start the game. Robinson hit two 3-pointers that were answered by short jump shots from Brooks. By the first media timeout at the 13:21 mark, the Hokies had hit five 3-pointers and extended their lead to 19-13, despite eight early points from Brooks.
Once North Carolina went to its bench, though, the impact was immediate. By mixing in Nassir Little, Seventh Woods and Brandon Robinson, UNC forced six Virginia Tech turnovers in just over six minutes of gameplay. But the Hokies still led 22-18 at the under-eight timeout, due in part to the Tar Heels’ 1-12 3-point shooting.
Out of the media timeout, UNC hit four of its six shots from the field, including 3-pointers from Luke Maye and Coby White. Virginia Tech called a timeout at the 4:33 mark with its lead cut to just one point, 29-28. Another 3-pointer from White gave the Tar Heels, once down nine, their first lead of the game with just under four minutes left in the half.
The Tar Heels followed with 14 more unanswered points, including six from White, to extend their run to 20-0 before a Virginia Tech tipin brought the lead to 45-31 at halftime.
The teams traded baskets coming out of the break, with each side scoring 10 points in the first 3:44 of play. An 8-0 UNC run ensued, thanks to 3-pointers from Cameron Johnson and Maye and two free throws from White, to give the team its largest lead of the night at 22 points.
Back-to-back 3-pointers by Little gave UNC a 24-point advantage, 80-56, with 8:35 to play. Little had scored 10 of UNC’s last 12 points to extend a lead that had dropped to 17 points.