Chapel Hill, NC (SportsNetwork.com) - Brice Johnson had 12 points and eight rebounds as No. 6 North Carolina rolled to a 76-60 win over NC Central in the opener for both schools on Friday.
Kennedy Meeks posted 10 points and nine rebounds and J.P. Tokoto added 10 points for the Tar Heels (1-0), who lost to Iowa State in the third round of the NCAA Tournament last spring.
"I like the fact that you play a pretty doggone good team and you have some struggles," said North Carolina head coach Roy Williams. "Everybody's got to look at themselves and the things we made mistakes on, they've got to learn from it and try to change it."
Anthony McDonald led all scorers with 16 points for the Eagles (0-1), who lost in the second round of last spring's NCAA Tournament.
North Carolina scored the first 11 points of this game as the team led the contest from start to finish. The Tar Heels were up as many as 14 in the half, but the Eagles were able to keep the game from getting out of hand and a McDonald layup near the buzzer saw the Eagles trail 28-19 going into the locker room.
"We were just nervous in the first half," said NC Central head coach LeVelle Moton. "The look on my kids' faces, I know that look. So we just needed to settle down."
North Carolina started the second half strong, scoring eight of the first nine points with a Tokoto jumper giving the team a 36-20 lead.
NC Central was unable to get closer than 12 in the final 20 minutes.
Karamo Jawara and Dante Holmes each posted 11 points in the loss ... This was the second meeting between these schools. The last was in 2009 in Chapel Hill, which North Carolina won, 89-42.