for this game

Tar Heels rout Georgia Tech after honoring Dean Smith

Feb 21, 2015 - 8:26 PM Chapel Hill, NC ( - North Carolina honored the late Dean Smith on Saturday and followed with a balanced effort that would have made the legendary coach proud.

Kennedy Meeks scored 18 points and Marcus Paige contributed 13 with 10 assists for the 15th-ranked Tar Heels in an 89-60 rout of Georgia Tech.

It was the first home game for North Carolina since Smith died on Feb. 7.

Brice Johnson added 16 points and J.P. Tokoto chipped in 12 with six rebounds and five assists for the Tar Heels, who shot a season-best 62.3 percent and had six players score in double figures.

North Carolina opened the game with a tribute to Smith, running the Four Corners offense he made famous before the advent of the shot clock. The Tar Heels spread the floor on their first possession and Paige found Johnson with a backdoor cut for a layup.

"It's something that I've been thinking about for a long time, for two weeks anyway," said North Carolina coach Roy Williams about the opening sequence. "Some way to do something that would mean a great deal to (Coach Smith) and would mean a great deal to me. I thought that worked out great."

It was part of a game-opening 7-0 run for the Tar Heels (19-8, 9-5 ACC), who never trailed and won for only the second time in their last six games. North Carolina was coming off Wednesday's heartbreaking 92-90 overtime loss at Duke and the Tar Heels easily took out their frustrations on the overmatched Yellow Jackets.

Marcus Georges-Hunt scored 15 points for Georgia Tech (12-15, 3-12), which was coming off a 63-52 win over Clemson on Monday.

The Yellow Jackets had played most teams close in their losses, as 10 of their first 11 conference setbacks came by single digits, but this one was virtually no contest.

North Carolina had a double-digit lead just six minutes into the game. Georgia Tech did manage to trim the deficit to four a couple of times midway through the first half, but a 14-4 run gave the Tar Heels a 37-23 advantage with just over five minutes left and the margin never dipped below 10 afterward.

Carolina carried a 43-29 lead into the break and a bucket by Paige just three minutes into the second half capped a 12-1 run to give the Heels a 55-30 cushion. The lead quickly grew to 30 points and Williams emptied his bench for much of the final 10 minutes.

"Needless to say i was a great day for us," Williams added. "Shoot 63 percent for the game and only have eight turnovers, it was a good bounce back from a very disappointing game Wednesday night."

Game Notes

Isaiah Hicks scored 12 off the Carolina bench and Justin Jackson added 11 points in the victory ... Paige didn't commit a turnover and added four steals ... North Carolina has won five straight against Georgia Tech ... The Yellow Jackets again played without guard Chris Bolden, who sat out his second game as part of a six-game suspension for violating the school's student-athlete conduct policy ... North Carolina will remain home for a Tuesday matchup against North Carolina State ... The Yellow Jackets return home to face Louisville on Monday ... Georgia Tech will host North Carolina on March 3.