Published November 19, 2012
| Sports Network
Maui, HI – Leslie McDonald accounted for six of North Carolina's 15 makes from behind the arc as the ninth-ranked Tar Heels steamrolled the Mississippi State Bulldogs, 95-49, in a first-round mismatch at the Maui Invitational.
North Carolina (4-0) blew the doors open early, led by 32 at halftime and cruised into Tuesday's game against another group of Bulldogs after Butler edged Marquette, 72-71, on a buzzer-beater earlier Monday.
McDonald scored a game-high 21 points, while P.J. Hairston and Reggie Bullock chipped in 18 and 16 points, respectively, for the Tar Heels, who shot 15- of-32 from 3-point range in the blowout. James Michael McAdoo and Dexter Strickland each netted 10 points, with the latter also recording six steals and five assists.
Roquez Johnson paced the overmatched Bulldogs (1-2) with 12 points, while Wendell Lewis scored 10 in defeat.
Bullock opened the scoring with a 3-pointer, Strickland had a steal and a layup and Desmond Hubert scored twice on the inside to give the Tar Heels a 9-0 advantage just two minutes in.
Mississippi State finally got on the board with a pair of field goals, only to have UNC answer with another 9-0 run, capped by another Bullock triple.
An 11-point flurry shortly thereafter ballooned the margin to 29-6 at the midway point, and Hairston fittingly finished the one-sided half with a miraculous 60-foot bank shot from the opposite 3-point line at the buzzer for an insurmountable 49-17 cushion.
The Tar Heels shot 8-of-14 from behind the arc in the opening 20 minutes, while Mississippi State made just one of its 11 attempts from long range and 20 percent (7-of-35) overall.
Though they shot slightly better in the second half, the deficit -- which grew as high as 49 points -- was simply too much for the Bulldogs to overcome.
North Carolina improved to 14-2 in this event, winning tournament titles in 1999-2000, 2004-05, 2008-09 while reaching in finals in its other two appearances ... Mississippi State has never beaten UNC in six meetings ... McAdoo was whistled for a flagrant foul early in the second half when he struck Johnson in the face with an elbow ... The Bulldogs committed 21 turnovers.