Marcus Paige, Justin Jackson help No. 20 North Carolina rout UAB 89-58



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CHAPEL HILL, North Carolina — Coach Roy Williams gave Justin Jackson an earful about how many shots he hoisted for No. 20 North Carolina.

Williams wanted more of them.

Jackson scored 13 points in his best game in five weeks, the Tar Heels' 89-58 rout of UAB on Saturday.

"Knowing that he has confidence in me definitely helps," Jackson said.

Marcus Paige had 16 points and Kennedy Meeks added 14 points for the Tar Heels (9-3), who never trailed and led by as many as 36 while shooting 50 percent. Their seven 3-pointers were one shy of a season best.

"The 3-point shot, for them, when it's going, they're almost unstoppable to guard," said UAB coach Jerod Haase, a former assistant to Williams.

C.J. Washington had 12 points and Robert Brown added 11 for the Blazers (4-9). They were just 3 of 25 from 3-point range and lost their third straight.

Jackson, a freshman, finished with his most points since scoring a season-high 18 against Davidson on Nov. 22.

He scored 11 in the first half and hit his first two 3-pointers since a win over Florida six days after the Davidson game, with those coming during the burst that put North Carolina up by 20. In his previous five games, he was 0 for 11 from long range.

"I got mad at (Jackson) because Marcus wanted him to shoot the ball, everybody wanted him to shoot the ball (but) he didn't shoot it," Williams said. "The next two times he got it, he shot it. I thought it was really good for him and it was really good for our team."

Brice Johnson and Isaiah Hicks added 11 points apiece and Nate Britt finished with 10 for North Carolina.

The Tar Heels had been off since their 82-74 win over Ohio State a week earlier and had a bit of a score to settle with UAB — which upset them last year in Birmingham.

They didn't get much of a test from a Blazers team that already had been beaten by a UNC-affiliated school — Division II UNC Pembroke in an exhibition last month.

The Tar Heels took control early after forcing UAB into a remarkably awful start: The Blazers hit one bucket during their first 10 possessions — but failed to even draw iron during any of the other nine.

Jackson helped break the game open shortly before halftime. North Carolina hit three 3s during a 70-second span, it was 1 for 8 from 3-point range to that point. After Jackson hit his two 3s, Paige connected to push the lead into the 20s for the first time at 40-19.

COACHING TREE

Two of Williams' wins have come against his protégés by an average of 27 points. North Carolina beat UNC Greensboro — coached by ex-UNC guard Wes Miller — by 23 on Dec. 16. Haase spent 13 years on Williams' staffs at Kansas and UNC before taking over at UAB in 2012.

HIGHLIGHT REEL

J.P. Tokoto's only basket of the day was one to remember. With the ball on the wing, he split two defenders and soared over 6-foot-9 William Lee for a one-handed slam that brought the Smith Center crowd to its feet.

TIP-INS

UAB: The Blazers fell to 0-4 against ranked teams. The other three losses all came in the Battle 4 Atlantis by an average of 17 points.

North Carolina: The Tar Heels improved to 88-4 in nonconference home games under Williams.

UP NEXT

UAB is at Middle Tennessee State on Jan. 4.

North Carolina plays host to William & Mary on Tuesday night.


Follow Joedy McCreary on Twitter at http://twitter.com/joedyap

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