TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- P.J. Hairston scored a career-high 23 points and North Carolina defeated defending Atlantic Coast Conference champion Florida State 77-72 Saturday, almost a year to day after suffering a 33-point loss against the Seminoles.
Hairston made 9 of 14 shots, including four of nine from beyond the arc for North Carolina, which shot 48.3 percent overall and 40 percent from 3-point range. Hairston's final points came on a jumper that boosted the North Carolina lead to 75-72 with 2:10 left. Marcus Paige hit two free throws with 11 seconds remaining to seal the outcome.The Tar Heels (11-5, 1-2) led 33-31 at halftime and took the lead for good at 73-72 with 3:09 when Jackson Simmons, who turned 20 Saturday, scored the go-ahead basket.James McAdoo added 14 points and eight rebounds, and Reggie Bullock had 12 points and eight rebounds as the Tar Heels dominated the boards with a 41-19 margin, including a decisive 19-6 advantage on the offensive boards.Okaro White led the Seminoles (10-6, 2-1) with 15 points -- all in the second half. Terry Whisnant added 14 points and Terrance Shannon 12 for Florida State.North Carolina, which suffered a 90-57 beat down last year at Florida State and also dropped the ACC tournament championship game to the Seminoles, avoided matching its worst start in league play with the win. They have started 0-2 in ACC play only four times.Florida State had won 17 of its last 20 games against ACC opponents, but couldn't offset the Tar Heels' huge rebound advantage that was a clear difference in the game.Aside from the rebound deficiency, Florida State shot 48 percent and made half of its 22 tries from 3-point range while committing a manageable 10 turnovers.White led with six rebounds and three steals.Freshman Montay Brandon's 3 from the corner gave Florida State its first lead at 21-19 and he followed 22 seconds later with a dunk after a steal by White that gave Florida State a 23-19 lead.Both teams are now off for a week. Florida State visits Virginia next Saturday while the Tar Heels will host Maryland.