No. 5 North Carolina beats Nicholls State 99-49

Nicholls State coach J.P. Piper knew his players were giving up plenty of size to No. 5 North Carolina. He just hoped the Colonels could hit enough 3-pointers to hang around a while.

Instead, the Tar Heels more than doubled the Colonels on the boards while Nicholls State made two 3s in a 99-49 loss Monday night.

The Tar Heels finished with a 72-35 rebounding advantage, including 31 on the offensive glass that led to 36 second-chance points. The Colonels missed 20 of 22 tries from 3-point range, while the Tar Heels blocked nine shots after halftime when the Colonels tried attacking the paint.

"I don't know if (the 3-point shooting) was a function of us having to work so hard to get to open spots because of their size, quickness and athleticism, or if we were just a little off tonight," Piper said. "I kept telling our guys to shoot it. They got reluctant in the second half to shoot it and started attacking the rim, and that was really a disaster. ... When you can't make 3s and can't lay the ball up, you're in trouble."

As for the rebounding, Nicholls State didn't start anyone taller than 6-foot-7 against a front line of Harrison Barnes (6-8), John Henson (6-11) and Tyler Zeller (7-0).

"I don't think we necessarily competed as hard as we needed to early for some of those rebounds," Piper said. "There were times, however, when I felt like we put a body on a guy and had good position, and they were just superior."

For North Carolina, Dexter Strickland scored 14 points and freshman reserve James Michael McAdoo added a season-high 14 for the Tar Heels (10-2), who dominated the undersized and overmatched Colonels for their fourth straight victory.

UNC's 31 offensive boards were second-most in program history. The Tar Heels had 39 rebounds by halftime to match or exceed their total for six games this season, and their 72 for the game were tied for second in school history and the program's most since 1956.

Bryan Hammond scored 15 to lead Nicholls State (4-8), which didn't manage a point for the first 5½ minutes and shot just 31 percent for the game.

The Tar Heels are midway through a nine-game home stand that will keep them at the Smith Center through their first two Atlantic Coast Conference games in January. The next game comes Wednesday night against Texas — which beat North Carolina in Greensboro on a last-second shot last season — so Monday night's game offered the Tar Heels a chance to fine-tune their game before facing the Longhorns.

North Carolina had a 30-7 rebounding advantage in the first 12½ minutes, including 18-0 on the offensive boards. North Carolina's first seven baskets were second-chance points, including a stickback from Reggie Bullock that capped a six-shot possession.

North Carolina led 20-9 on a jumper from Strickland, then ran off seven straight points to push the lead to 18 on a pair of baskets from Barnes. The lead grew to 28 by late in the half, then increased to as many as 52 points in the final minutes.

Freshman P.J. Hairston added 13 points for UNC, while Bullock finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Henson and Zeller each pulled down 11 rebounds, while Henson also had seven blocked shots.

But the Tar Heels made just 7 of 21 free throws in the first half before warming up to finish at 21 for 41 for the game.