C.J. Harris didn't provide much scoring for Wake Forest against No. 5 North Carolina until it was too late.
Harris finished with 19 points in Tuesday night's 68-53 loss to the Tar Heels, though eight came in the final 2½ minutes after the Demon Deacons had fallen behind by 22 points.
The 6-foot-3 junior came in averaging 17.3 points and had been in double figures in every game. But with 6-foot-7 sophomore Reggie Bullock leading the defensive effort, Harris didn't manage his first shot until nearly 8 minutes in — Bullock blocked it — and had only four points in the first half.
"That was my main goal, to come out and just play defense hard every game," Bullock said. "I was just trying to make it difficult for him in the first half."
Harris came in shooting nearly 49 percent from 3-point range, but hit 1 of 6 shots from behind the arc against the Tar Heels. He didn't reach double figures in scoring until hitting two free throws with 5:56 left to cut the deficit to 60-40, then reached his 1,000 career point with a three-point play with 1:03 left.
"(Bullock) does a good job of staying low, getting into you and making every look that you take tough," Harris said.
For North Carolina, Tyler Zeller had 18 points and a career-best 18 rebounds.
John Henson added 14 points and 12 rebounds for the Tar Heels (19-3, 6-1 Atlantic Coast Conference), who shook off a miserable shooting performance to win their fourth straight game. North Carolina shot 31 percent, including a 1-for-13 stretch to start the second half before running off a 12-0 spurt to finally pull away.
Harrison Barnes added 13 points for the Tar Heels and played most of the second half despite rolling his left ankle midway through the first half. Afterward, coach Roy Williams said Barnes would get a few days off to rest.
The Demon Deacons (11-11, 2-6) struggled just as badly as the Tar Heels with their shooting. Wake Forest shot just 30 percent, including 2 for 18 from 3-point range.
The game closed a three-game week for the Tar Heels, who beat rival North Carolina State last Thursday then defeated Georgia Tech on Sunday. North Carolina doesn't play again until traveling to Maryland on Saturday, then returns home to face No. 7 Duke next week in the latest renewal of that fierce rivalry.
The Tar Heels shot the ball well in the past two wins and hit 10 3-pointers against the Yellow Jackets, but they didn't bring that with them to Winston-Salem. In a sign of what was to come, North Carolina's first three field goals were all second-chance baskets off its own misses, while the Tar Heels shot just 4 for 19 from 3-point range.
No North Carolina player shot even 50 percent, while perimeter threats Barnes, Bullock and P.J. Hairston combined to shoot 6 for 26 from the field and miss 11 of 13 3-point tries.
Yet the Demon Deacons were in no position to take advantage.
They had lost five of six, with the past four losses all coming by at least 11 points. And the Demon Deacons were greeted by plenty of empty green seats and a large splattering of Carolina blue from the stands in their own building for this one.
Still, Wake Forest trailed by 12 at halftime and was within 40-34 with about 14 minutes left against the cold-shooting Tar Heels. But Kendall Marshall knocked down a 3-pointer to start the clinching run, then Bullock added his only 3 before Zeller tipped in a miss from Marshall to cap the 12-0 run and give UNC a 60-38 lead with 6:11 left.
North Carolina finished with a 55-40 rebounding advantage, including 22 on the offensive end that led to 20 second-chance points.