TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Roy Williams earned his 300th win at North Carolina with an 81-75 win against Florida State as the Tar Heels rallied from a 15-point first-half deficit to record its seventh consecutive victory.
The win was North Carolina’s biggest comeback of the year.
Freshman Kennedy Meeks scored a career-high 23 points for North Carolina (18-7, 8-4 ACC), while Marcus Paige chipped in 20. James Michael McAdoo, who had scored double figures in 17 consecutive games, fouled out without a point.
“That was about as bizarre of a game I’ve ever been involved with early, nothing we did was very good,” Williams said. “But our guys just sort of hung in there.”
Florida State (15-11, 6-8) switched up the starting lineup with its NCAA Tournament chances dwindling after losing 6 of 9. Ian Miller made his first start of the season and led the Seminoles with 22 points, including five 3-pointers. His hot shooting out of the gate helped give Florida State a 21-6 lead. Montay Brandon finished with 18 points and Aaron Thomas added 16.
North Carolina started just 2 for 13 from the field, but closed the first half with a 27-15 run with Meeks taking over inside.
Florida State’s size, Okaro White, Michael Ojo, Boris Bojanovsky, played a combined 17 minutes in the first half because of foul trouble and Meeks stayed aggressive. He scored 13 points in the first half, including the last eight North Carolina points before the half.
Paige scored 16 of his 20 points in the second half as the Tar Heels continued to walk down the lead. Nate Britt hit a baseline jumper to give North Carolina its first lead of the game at 57-55 with 10:05 left to play.
The Tar Heels led 70-69 when J.P. Tokoto came up with a loose ball and turned it into an easy two-hand dunk. Meeks then put in a layup off a Paige dribble-drive and dish to go up 74-69. Florida State never recovered.
The Seminoles have now lost 7 of 10.