LOUISVILLE — Joel Berry II scored 18 of his 23 points in the first half and made a key defensive play late in the game as No. 14 North Carolina remained one of the hottest teams in the country by defeating Louisville 93-76 on Saturday night at the KFC Yum! Center.
Theo Pinson and Luke Maye each provided 19 points, Cameron Johnson had 12 and Kenny Williams chipped in 11 for North Carolina, which has a five-game winning streak. Maye also grabbed 13 rebounds, producing his 14th double-double of the season.
The Tar Heels (21-7, 10-5 ACC) have won four games in a 10-day period. It was their first ever victory on the Cardinals’ home court.
Louisville’s Deng Adel scored 20 points off the bench. Ray Spalding added 18 points and Quentin Snider had 12 points for the Cardinals (18-9, 8-6).
The Tar Heels have the longest winning streak in the ACC. Entering the day, the league’s second-longest streak belonged to Louisville until its two-game string was snapped.
The Tar Heels held a lead that wavered between seven and 12 points for a large portion of the second half. The game ended on a 13-3 run for North Carolina.
Shortly before that, the Cardinals were on the verge of cutting the lead to six, but Berry blocked a Spalding dunk attempt. At the other end, Maye drained a 3-point shot and the lead grew to 86-75.
North Carolina finished with 12 baskets on 27 attempts from 3-point range. The Tar Heels were 9-for-10 on free throws compared to Louisville’s 13-for-22 on foul shots.
North Carolina led 49-40 at halftime in a game played at a sizzling pace at times.
North Carolina bolted to a 19-6 lead, with Pinson and Johnson combining for 13 points.
The lead swelled to 40-21 before the Cardinals made a 17-5 run to strike back in a hurry.
North Carolina had eight 3-point baskets in the first half, with Berry providing half of those.