CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — Marcus Paige scored 16 points to lead No. 20 North Carolina past UAB 89-58 on Saturday.
Kennedy Meeks added 14 points and Justin Jackson had 13 for the Tar Heels (9-3), who never trailed and led by as many as 36 while shooting 50 percent.
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, had his best game 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.
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, were playing their first home game since Dec. 7 and had a bit of a score to settle with UAB — which upset them last year in Birmingham.
They sure 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 had five points during the Tar Heels’ game-opening 15-2 run that gave them a comfortable working margin the rest of the way.
Then, he helped them 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 two, Paige connected from the left corner to push the lead into the 20s for the first time at 40-19.
UAB was never closer than 21 points in the second half.
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 Roy Williams.
UAB is at Middle Tennessee State on Jan. 4.
North Carolina plays host to William & Mary on Tuesday night.
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