Menu

BASKETBALL

Hairston, Strickland help Tar Heels hold off 2nd-half surge from No. 20 UNLV in 79-73 win

  • North Carolina forward Desmond Hubert (14) battles for position against UNLV forward Khem Birch (2) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Chapel Hill, N.C., Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012. (AP Photo/JIm R. Bounds)The Associated Press

  • North Carolina guard Marcus Paige (5) battles for position against UNLV guard Anthony Marshall (3) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Chapel Hill, N.C., Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012. (AP Photo/JIm R. Bounds)The Associated Press

  • UNLV guard Anthony Marshall (3) drives to basket on North Carolina during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Chapel Hill, N.C., Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012. (AP Photo/JIm R. Bounds)The Associated Press

P.J. Hairston scored 15 points in his first career start to help North Carolina beat No. 20 UNLV 79-73 on Saturday.

Dexter Strickland added a season-high 16 points for the Tar Heels (10-3), who led by 15 points in the first half and by nine at the break. But UNC had to turn away a second-half surge by the Runnin' Rebels (11-2) to earn the program's 63rd straight home win against nonconference opponents.

Freshman Anthony Bennett had 15 points and 13 rebounds for UNLV, which led by a point briefly in the second half but spent most of the game in catch-up mode. Katin Reinhardt and Anthony Marshall each added 15 points for the Runnin' Rebels, who also got Mike Moser back from an elbow injury after a four-game absence.

Hairston started in place of Reggie Bullock, who sat out with a mild concussion suffered in Thursday's practice.