Tar Heels use late 25-6 run to hold off Florida State

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- For a moment, it appeared North Carolina was going to blow a big lead at Florida State for a second straight year.

It was only a moment.

"It wasn't pretty, but we'll take it anyway," North Carolina coach Roy Williams said after the second-ranked Tar Heels finished fast Sunday for an 81-60 victory.

"In the second half we were more of that team that can fight you and win," said Williams, who said he was upset with his club after allowing Florida State to score the final nine points of the first half to pull within 38-29.

"I was very disappointed in their aggressiveness," Williams said. "I told them Florida State was more aggressive the last five minutes of that first half and that's what happened last year."

That was when North Carolina (19-2, 8-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) built a 24-point first-half lead and wound up losing 90-81 in overtime. Williams said that game was still bothering him on the trip to Florida on Saturday.

The Seminoles (11-11, 3-6) were down by 18 points in the first half Sunday and closed within 49-48 on Diego Romero's 3-pointer with 14:16 left. That was the Seminoles' fourth straight 3 in a span of just two minutes.

Williams wasn't about to call a timeout, depending instead on his players to take care of business.

"I'm not one of those guys who calls a timeout just because the crowd is cheering," he said. "You've got to learn to get yourself out of a hole sometimes."

And that's just what North Carolina did.

Rashad McCants' dunk 20 seconds after Romero's basket ignited a 25-6 run down the stretch.

McCants, who led all scorers with 16 points, dunked a pass from
Raymond Felton and within nine minutes the Tar Heels were up 74-54 as Florida State went scoreless for more than seven minutes.

North Carolina had Florida State's Von Wafer clamped down for most of the game. The Seminoles' leading scorer had 14 points on 5-of-12 shooting, including 4-of-9 from 3-point range.

"One of the tougher defenses I've ever seen," Wafer said.

Anthony Richardson added 13 points for the Seminoles.

North Carolina shot just 40 percent but committed only nine turnovers for the second straight game. Florida State had 22 turnovers.

"Some things do work out good for you," Williams said.

McCants capped a 16-2 run in the first half with a layup that helped North Carolina to a 38-20 lead before Florida State closed out the half with the nine straight points.

Felton added 14 points while Sean May and Marvin Williams each had 13 for the Tar Heels. Although only a freshman, the 6-foot-9 Williams went over Florida State's 6-10, 250-pound Alexander Johnson on a thunderous dunk and then capped the three-point play with a free throw during the 16-2 run in the first half.

Wafer said there's little comparison between last year's North Carolina team and this year's, although many of the players are the same.

"They are a lot better," Wafer said. "They're more unselfish."