BOSTON (AP) -- Tyrese Rice scored 34 points in the first half and had the first two baskets of the second half to give Boston College an 18-point lead over North Carolina (No. 2 ESPN/USA Today, No. 3 AP).
To finish off the Tar Heels, though, he would need more help.
Rice finished with 46 points, but Tyler Hansbrough had 25 along with some teammates to share the scoring on Saturday as North Carolina came back to beat the Eagles 90-80.
"You just can't ask one person to score all your points for you," BC coach Al Skinner said.
And North Carolina didn't have to.
Wayne Ellington had 18 of his 20 points in the second half, and Danny Green scored 18 to help the Tar Heels (27-2, 12-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) win their sixth straight. Hansbrough did not score during an 11-minute span when North Carolina scored 32 of 40 points to turn a 17-point deficit into a 76-69 lead.
"I was just mad at what they were doing defensively," said Tar Heels coach Roy Williams, who had all five starters on the bench for a spell so he could express his displeasure. "Basically, if I'm going to get my tail kicked, I'm going to get 100 percent effort and we weren't getting that.
"[But] I really did believe we had a chance to win the game."
Boston College (13-14, 4-10) was hoping to be the third team to upset a top three opponent in the last eight days. Instead of a victory, it got one of the school's all-time top performances.
Rice's 46 points were the most for a BC player in more than 40 years, and second in school history to the 49 scored by John Austin in 1964. He received a standing ovation after he was taken out of the game in the final minute.
"I don't know if I've seen many exhibitions more than what I just saw," Williams said. "I will say that's about as impressive as anything I've ever seen."
The No. 2 scorer in the ACC, Rice said he was not especially eager to put up big numbers against Hansbrough, who leads the conference.
"Whether I score 40 points or four points, I just want to get a win," Rice said. "He's definitely going to win ACC player of the year -- he might get national player of the year. I'm not trying to compete with that; I'm just trying to get wins."
He didn't accomplish that, but he did surpass his career highs of 32 points and six 3-pointers by halftime, making 8-of-9 from beyond the arc in the opening 20 minutes. He started the second half with a steal and fast-break layup, then he hit the next basket to make it 58-40.
"I was waiting for him to miss a shot and he never did. He was single-handedly killing our team," said Tar Heels guard Marcus Ginyard, who had a little chat with Rice on the court. "I told him to slow down, relax a little. He said, 'We're trying to save our season. You all got nothing to lose; we've got to get after it.' "
After Corey Raji hit a 3-pointer to give BC a 61-44 lead, the Tar Heels scored 18 straight points -- getting three 3-pointers from Green. Ellington had a steal and fast-break layup, then followed that up with a pass to Ginyard underneath for the dunk that made it 62-61 with 11:13 to play.
"I thought Green gave them a big lift. He was making perimeter shots," Skinner said. "That was the difference in the ballgame."
North Carolina remained tied atop the conference standings with Duke (No. 6 ESPN/USA Today, No. 7 AP), the last opponent to beat the Tar Heels. The teams play in Durham next Saturday.
Hansbrough had nine rebounds and Green scored 18 points for the Tar Heels. Point guard Ty Lawson, playing in his first game after missing six with a sprained left ankle, scored four points.
North Carolina made its first 17 free throw attempts before Hansbrough missed two with 9 minutes left. He got the rebound, but his putback was blocked and Rice hit two free throws at the other end to give BC a 67-66 lead.
The Tar Heels scored 10 of the next 12 points to earn some breathing room.
Carolina's only points in the first 3 1/2 minutes were free throws after a technical foul was called on center John Oates for hanging on the rim following a breakaway dunk. Hansbrough was fouled on a jumper with 16:31 left in the first half, converting the three-point play to make it 16-5.
Rice made his first five shots, four straight from 3-point range to make it 16-2 with 16:46 left in the first half. He had 24 points in the first seven minutes.
At one point in the first half, he looked up at the scoreboard and said to himself, "Wow."
"It didn't look right," said Rice, who was 0-for-3 from 3-point range in the second half. "When somebody has a half like that, it's hard for that to continue over the whole game. I was telling my teammates they're going to guard me a lot, so somebody had to come out and take some shots. Unfortunately they weren't able to make some of them."