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No. 4 UNC holds off Long Beach State

Dec 11, 2011 - 3:07 AM Chapel Hill, NC (Sports Network) - John Henson totaled 24 points and 10 rebounds, as fourth-ranked North Carolina overcame a pesky Long Beach State team for an 84-78 victory at the Smith Center.

Harrison Barnes tallied 20 points, Tyler Zeller scored 17 to go with nine rebounds and Reggie Bullock ended with 15 points for the Tar Heels (8-2), who have won back-to-back contests since falling to No. 1 Kentucky on December 3.

Reggie Bullock chipped in 15 points and Kendall Marshall played a big role with 16 assists.

"He was needed a heck of a lot more than some of his other games, there's no question about that," UNC coach Roy Williams said of Bullock. "I like his confidence. I didn't even want to take him out, except for possession on the defensive end. He just couldn't slide his feet, and his gas tank was empty."

Casper Ware scored 29 for Long Beach State (4-5). which suffered an 88-80 loss at Kansas on Tuesday. Larry Anderson added 17 points and T.J. Robinson scored 12 to go with 12 boards in defeat.

"It's been a long week for the team, between traveling to Kansas, traveling here, and trying to get two days of school in, but I thought they fought really hard," Long Beach State coach Dan Monson said. "And we aren't here for moral victories. We feel like we can play in these games and sometimes you just have to say that you got beat, and I don't think we lost to them. I think they had to beat us and for that I think that's acceptable."

UNC's starting backcourt of Marshall and Dexter Strickland combined to shoot 2-of-10 from the field, but despite falling behind by as many as six early in the second half, the Tar Heels were able to gain the upperhand in the second installment of a nine-game homestand.

Robinson's jumper moved the 49ers to a 51-45 advantage 1 1/2 minutes into the second half. Bullock countered with a three-ball and the Tar Heels finally went ahead for good 62-59 with 11:05 left on another long-distance shot from the sophomore guard.

That started an 8-0 run, capped by a three-point play from Zeller, and Henson widened the gap to 72-61 with a jam inside nine minutes.

The 49ers, who didn't get closer than six the rest of the contest, overcame an early eight-point deficit. They scored the final nine points of the opening half for a 45-40 lead.

Game Notes

Zeller came into the game with 999 career points. He's the 64th UNC player to eclipse the 1,000-point mark...The Tar Heels have won 51 in a row at the Smith Center against non-conference foes. UNC's last non-conference loss in the Smith Center came on November 29, 2005, to Illinois by a 68-64 score...UNC is riding a 21-game Smith Center winning streak that stretches across three seasons.