Chicago, IL (SportsNetwork.com) - Brice Johnson had 18 points and nine rebounds in the 24th-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels' 82-74 victory over the 12th-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes at the United Center.
Marcus Paige added 16 points for the Tar Heels (8-3), who have won two in a row since a loss at top-ranked Kentucky on Dec. 13. Justin Jackson tallied 11 points.
"I'm extremely relieved," said North Carolina coach Roy Williams. "I'm not as happy as you can possibly be. I don't hear the happy song in my ears right now. We stunk it up down the stretch and I think we have to get better there."
Marc Loving ended with 19 points for the Buckeyes (9-2), who had a four-game winning streak snapped. Sam Thompson contributed 17 points.
North Carolina jumped out to a 17-8 lead and never looked back. Ahead 28-21, the Tar Heels went on a 15-6 run that Paige capped with a four-point play for a 43-27 advantage.
Ohio State scored the final four points of the first half to get within 12.
Trailing 64-46 midway through the second half, the Buckeyes put together a 16-6 run. Thompson tallied six points during the surge to help make it a 70-62 contest.
However, Ohio State never got closer than seven the rest of the way.
"They made all the plays they needed to make when they needed to make them," said Ohio State coach Thad Matta.
North Carolina leads the all-time series by an 11-2 margin ... Ohio State shot 35.2 percent from the field and went 10-of-29 from beyond the arc ... The Tar Heels went 21-of-33 from the foul line.