|North Carolina forward John Henson (31) dunks over Monmouth forward Mykel Harris (15) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Chapel Hill, N.C., Sunday, Jan. 1, 2012. (AP Photo/Jim R. Bounds)|
No. 5 North Carolina beats Monmouth 102-65
CHAPEL HILL, N.C.—John Henson scored 21 points and No. 5 North Carolina beat Monmouth 102-65 on Sunday for its 26th straight victory at the Smith Center.
Harrison Barnes added 20 points for the Tar Heels (13-2). They shot 54 percent, built a 55-26 rebounding advantage, used a 33-10 run late in the first half to take a 31-point halftime lead. They cruised from there to break the arena record established from 1992-94 -- a mark two Monmouth assistants had a role in setting.
Freshman Andrew Nicholas led the Hawks (2-12) with 22 points, including six 3-pointers. First-year coach King Rice played at North Carolina from 1988-91, and assistants Brian Reese and Derrick Phelps started on its 1993 national championship team.
P.J. Hairston had 16 points for North Carolina, which won its seventh straight overall and hasn't lost in its nearly 26-year-old building since Florida State won there on Feb. 24, 2010.
The Tar Heels moved even with Purdue for the fifth-longest active home-court winning streak in Division I -- even if they don't even have the longest one in the 919 area code. Rival Duke entered Sunday night's game against Pennsylvania having won 42 straight at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
In reaching triple figures for the second straight game and fourth time this season, the Tar Heels matched the second-longest home winning streak in program history. They are six wins shy of the school record of 32 straight set in 1929 at the old Indoor Athletic Center, also known as the "Tin Can."
Reggie Bullock finished with 11 points, Kendall Marshall added 11 assists, Tyler Zeller had 11 rebounds and James Michael McAdoo had nine rebounds for North Carolina. It improved to 2-0 against teams coached by former Tar Heel players, having already beaten Jason Capel's Appalachian State team.
Monmouth -- a team ranked 310th in an unofficial online replication of the RPI formula, and which is 275th or worse in 12 team stat categories -- was beaten by double figures for the 11th time.
Rice, who returned to North Carolina in 2005-06 as a volunteer assistant to Roy Williams, received a 30-second standing ovation during pregame introductions from an appreciative Smith Center crowd.
After that, though, it was all Tar Heels. Henson scored 15 points in the first half to help them essentially end it.
They reeled off the game's first 12 points and were only briefly threatened before pulling away with their big run over the final 11 minutes of the half.
Henson's three-point play with 5:50 left put North Carolina up by 20 for good, and Dexter Strickland stretched it into the 30s when his free throw with 34.6 seconds left made it 54-24. Bullock's 3 with about 4 seconds left stretched it to 57-26.
Jesse Steele finished with 17 points for Monmouth, which didn't get closer than 20 in the second half.