for this game

No. 1 North Carolina rips MVSU

Nov 20, 2011 - 11:43 PM Chapel Hill, NC (Sports Network) - Harrison Barnes and John Henson both scored 18 points and No. 1 North Carolina overcame a slow start in its home opener to race past Mississippi Valley State, 101-75, on Sunday.

The Tar Heels never trailed against their Southwestern Athletic Conference opponents, but the game was as close as three points with around eight minutes left in the first half.

North Carolina (3-0) used a 16-4 run to take control and carried a 41-27 lead into halftime.

Tyler Zeller added 16 points and Dexter Strickland had 13 in the win. Henson led all players with 14 rebounds and Zeller chipped in 10.

"I liked how we were active later. I didn't think we were very active early in the game and then we made a couple substitutions and I thought we were much more active all of a sudden," said North Carolina head coach Roy Williams. "In the second half I thought we were more active."

Brent Arrington poured in 33 points to lead the Delta Devils (0-3), who have also lost to Notre Dame and DePaul this season.

The Tar Heels shot 42.1 percent in the first half, turning it on down the stretch to pull away.

Barnes, Henson and Zeller combined to score eight straight points, turning a 22-19 lead into 30-19 and sparking North Carolina's 16-4 run. Henson's free throws inside two minutes made it 38-23 and the outcome was never in doubt after that.

"We made them play," said Mississippi Valley State head coach Sean Woods, "we challenged them and they stepped up to the plate and showed why they are who they are."

Sunday's game was part of the Las Vegas Invitational. The Tar Heels will host Tennessee State on Tuesday then leave Wednesday for Las Vegas, where they will spend Thanksgiving together before facing South Carolina on Friday.

The winner of that game will play the winner between USC and UNLV on Saturday night in Las Vegas.

Game Notes

It was the first-ever meeting between the teams...North Carolina started the season with road wins over Michigan State (on an aircraft carrier) and at UNC- Asheville...The Tar Heels shot 46 percent and MVSU 38.2 percent.