In a wire-to-wire battle, the No. 5 North Carolina men's basketball team survived an upset bid against Syracuse, and earned a 93-85 win to remain tied for first place in the ACC.
The Orange (18-10, 9-6 ACC) came out hot, sinking six of their first seven shots to take an early 15-6 lead. That opening stretch was led by Elijah Hughes, who sank his first two 3-point attempts to help his team jump ahead. UNC (23-5, 13-2 ACC) would answer, however, with a pair of Luke Maye free throws, then back-to-back threes by first-year Coby White and graduate Cameron Johnson to bring the score to 15-14 before a Syracuse timeout.
The two teams would then quickly settle into a back and forth affair; at the 11:49 mark, Syracuse held a narrow 21-20 lead, then a 28-27 lead at the under-8 minute timeout. It wasn't until the end of the half that the Orange began pulling away with a bevy of shots from deep. They would finish 8-17 from 3-point range in the first half, while limiting UNC to just 4-15 beyond the arc. The Tar Heels were able to cut the deficit to three just before the half, however, and trailed Syracuse, 46-43.
After the break, an explosive spurt by White keyed an 11-3 run to start the second half, in which he drilled two 3-pointers and kissed home an and-one layup. At the 15:58 mark, the Tar Heels, sparked by the efforts of White, had grabbed the momentum and a 54-49 lead.