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RJ Davis carries North Carolina past Miami with Smith Center-record 42

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By jeenmediaa


CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — After a huge first half, RJ Davis saw no reason to back off.

Davis poured in four straight 3-pointers during a riveting second-half stretch on his way to a career-high 42 points, and No. 9 North Carolina held off skidding Miami 75-71 on Monday night.

“I kind of felt good most of the game,” Davis said. “Came out hot. I told myself since I had a good first half to continue to stay on it. I was aggressive, and shots were falling. For me to have a performance like that tonight means the world to me.”

Davis, a senior guard, set a Smith Center scoring record, surpassing the 40 points by former Tar Heels All-American Tyler Hansbrough against Georgia Tech in 2006.

Davis was the only player for the Tar Heels (22-6, 14-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) to score in double figures, marking just the fourth time in the past 25 seasons that UNC won a game with only one player in double figures and the first time since 2011, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.

“It wasn’t just his points,” Tar Heels coach Hubert Davis said. “I thought he was great defensively, took care of the ball. We needed every bit of his 42.”

Norchad Omier had 22 points, Bensley Joseph scored 21 and Kyshawn George added 14 to lead Miami (15-14, 6-12), which lost its seventh game in a row.

Omier missed a hook shot in the lane that could have tied the score with about 45 seconds left. Then twice in the last 25 seconds, North Carolina secured offensive rebounds off missed free throws.

“That was a valiant effort on our part,” Miami coach Jim Larranaga said. “RJ Davis had an answer every time we made a run.”

North Carolina, with three regular-season games remaining, stretched its ACC lead to 1½ games over second-place Duke.

Davis racked up the most points for a Tar Heels player since Shammond Williams scored 42 in a 1998 double-overtime win at Georgia Tech.

“He put us on his back and took over the game,” North Carolina forward Harrison Ingram said. “RJ took the ball and [let’s] see what he does.”

Miami got close after trailing 64-50, even with Davis completing his outburst with four 3-pointers in slightly more than three minutes for a 13-point UNC lead before the four-minute mark.

“I’m just locked in, just confident in myself and my shot,” he said.

Earlier in the second half, North Carolina went ahead 50-38 before Miami rattled off the next eight points.

Davis, who has scored 20 or more points in a half four times this season, propelled the Tar Heels to a 37-32 lead at the break. He scored 18 of North Carolina’s first 28 points.

He was coming off his second-lowest point total (12) of the season on Saturday at Virginia.

“I believe in myself,” Davis said. “I believe in my work. And coming into this game, I knew I was going to be good in terms of shooting the ball.”

The game marked the largest gap in North Carolina history between its leading scorer and second-leading scorer (Ingram had eight points).

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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