Coral Gables, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - Brice Johnson had 22 points and 11 rebounds as No. 15 North Carolina pulled away late to defeat Miami 73-64 on Saturday afternoon.
Marcus Paige netted 15 points, while J.P. Tokoto added 10 points, 10 boards, six assists and four steals for the Tar Heels (20-9, 10-6 ACC), who had dropped five of their last seven games coming in.
"This time we made enough winning plays to make the difference," Paige said.
Sheldon McClellan and Ivan Cruz Uceda poured in 11 points apiece for Miami (18-11, 8-8), which had won three of its last four games prior to Saturday.
A win would've improved the Hurricanes' resume and a chance to make the NCAA Tournament.
"We've put ourselves in a very tough situation to make the dance," Miami coach Jim Larranaga said.
Ja'Quan Newton's dunk pulled the Hurricanes within 57-54 with 5:19 remaining, but the Tar Heels clamped down defensively and scored the next eight points to seize control.
Johnson put down a pair of dunks, Paige knocked down a jumper and two Justin Jackson free throws staked UNC to a 65-54 margin with 1:45 left.
Miami didn't tally a point for a 4:02 span until Deandre Burnett's layup with 1:17 to go and it never got within less than nine the rest of the way.
Paige and Jackson hit triples in the early going as the Tar Heels raced out to a 12-4 lead, but Davon Reed capped an 11-2 run with a layup to claw the 'Canes within 22-21 at the 6:01 mark of the first half.
UNC held a 32-30 edge at the break.
UNC avoided its fifth consecutive loss against Miami ... The Hurricanes were seeking their fourth win over a ranked opponent this season ... Johnson had five dunks in the game ... The Tar Heels were 5-of-11 from beyond the arc, while Miami finished just 6-of-23 from long distance.