No. 11 North Carolina beats Western Carolina 104-61
By AARON BEARD
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) North Carolina kept shoot, shoot, shooting from outside. The 11th-ranked Tar Heels didn't miss much, either.
Luke Maye had 12 points and 12 rebounds while UNC hit a season-high 16 3-pointers to beat Western Carolina 104-61 on Wednesday night, turning in a strong offensive performance to head into an 11-day exam break.
The Tar Heels (9-1) shot 57 percent and made 16 of 22 3-point attempts, coming one shy of matching the program record for made 3s in a game. It tied the record for made 3s under 15th-year coach Roy Williams, while the 72.7 percent conversion rate was a school record for a game in which the Tar Heels had at least 20 attempts.
It allowed Williams to rely on a bit of analysis he's fond of throwing out on good shooting nights.
"Everything looks great when the ball goes in the basket," Williams said, "and it went in the basket tonight."
The Tar Heels came into the game shooting about 36 percent from behind the arc, though it marked the third time in the past four games they had hit at least 42 percent on 3s.
The difference was volume; they hadn't made more than 11 3s in a game this season.
"I think it's something teams have to worry about because we have so many shooters," said Kenny Williams, who scored 13 points and made 3 of 4 3-pointers. "We can throw in a lineup where you have all five guys that can shoot the ball. And then it's more dangerous because it spreads the floor."
Still, the Tar Heels put the game away quickly with more than just 3s. They ran off 20 straight points during a 33-3 first-half run, shooting 64 percent by the break.
"They were draining just about everything they shot, both halves," Western Carolina coach Larry Hunter said, "They shoot like that, ... they're going to be a tough out for a lot of people."
Deriece Parks scored 13 points for the Catamounts (3-7), who made two quick shots for a 5-0 lead. But they missed 16 of 17 shots and had an 8-minute scoring drought as the Tar Heels took over.
Western Carolina: The Catamounts had already lost twice to power-conference opponents, falling by 28 points at both Clemson and Minnesota. This time, the Southern Conference program found itself trailing by 27 at halftime on the way to falling to 3-33 all-time against current Atlantic Coast Conference members.
"They're all very good teams," Hunter said. "Certainly I think Carolina played us the best of any of the three of them."
UNC: North Carolina has had a packed-full schedule in recent weeks with seven games in 14 days, including its only loss to Michigan State in the PK80 Invitational in Portland, Oregon, on Nov. 26. At least now the Tar Heels will have some time to get in more practice, regroup and recharge a bit during an 11-day exam break.
"I've been looking forward to this day since we left Oregon because this stretch has been long," senior Joel Berry II said, adding: "Getting a little break mentally is something that I need, and probably what the team needs."
SECOND AT THE POINT
The team announced before the game that sophomore point guard Seventh Woods is out indefinitely due to a stress fracture in his left foot, though he won't need surgery. That did open more time for freshman Jalek Felton, who had a team-high 15 points and five assists.
Five players hit 3-pointers for UNC, with Felton making all four of his attempts. Fellow freshman Andrew Platek (3 of 5) and Williams each hit three, while Maye, Berry and Brandon Robinson each hit two.
UNC took a 53-25 rebounding advantage against a team that entered the game ranked 311th nationally in rebound margin.
Western Carolina: The Catamounts host Southern Wesleyan on Friday.
UNC: The Tar Heels travel to No. 24 Tennessee on Dec. 17.
More AP college basketball: http://collegebasketball.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP-Top25
Follow Aaron Beard on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/aaronbeardap
Updated December 6, 2017