CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) RJ Davis got North Carolina rolling by attacking the basket or knocking down floaters in a tough first half, then hardly missed in the second.

By the final seconds, his crowd responded by roaring “RJ! RJ!" after the 6-foot senior pushed the third-ranked Tar Heels to another double-digit win in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Davis continued his star-making season with a career-high 36 points as UNC dominated after halftime to beat Wake Forest 85-64 on Monday night. He had 23 second-half points for UNC (16-3, 8-0 ACC), which went from trailing by one at the break after failing to make a 3-pointer to consistently attacking the paint to build momentum toward the rim and find a humming flow.

“I feel like I'm in my backyard just out there hooping, just trying things out,” Davis said in describing “a zone that every hooper knows.”

The capper was a big hug from coach Hubert Davis as he checked out.

“I think RJ opened the game up for sure, like in every aspect," said freshman guard Elliot Cadeau, who had 14 points.

Davis finally got UNC on the board from behind the arc to start UNC's strongest push, taking a whip-the-ball-around-the-arc set of feeds to bury a corner 3-pointer before following with another 3 in transition.

That was the beginning of an 18-4 run, ending when Cormac Ryan buried his own transition 3 against the backpedaling Demon Deacons for a 59-45 lead with 11:46 left.

That sequence captured the problem for Wake Forest coach Steve Forbes, who noted the pregame message: “Carolina needed to run at us, we could not run with them or be behind them.”

“To me, it was all just defensive transition," Forbes said. “We couldn't score, they ran out and we couldn't get back.”

Wake Forest (13-6, 5-3) never got back to within single digits again during a cold-shooting second half that included going six minutes without a basket. The Tar Heels shot 19 for 31 (61%) and outscored Wake Forest 52-30 after halftime, earning yet another impressive victory.

Hunter Sallis scored 18 points to lead Wake Forest, which was trying for its first win in Chapel Hill since 2010. But the Demon Deacons shot 8 for 30 (26.7%) and missed all nine 3-point tries after halftime.


Wake Forest: The Demon Deacons had lost only twice since 7-footer Efton Reid III got his second-time transfer waiver on Dec. 5, and over the weekend added outside shooter Damari Monsanto back for his first action following knee surgery. The first half was promising, the second half was a frustrating finish.

UNC: The Tar Heels have won seven straight ACC games by double-digit margins, the first time that has happened since winning 10 straight during the 1992-93 season that ended with Dean Smith's second and final NCAA title.


Davis had the best output by a UNC player since Brice Johnson scored 39 points at Florida State in January 2016. It was also the most points by a UNC player in the Smith Center since Tyler Hansbrough's 39 points in a double-overtime win against Clemson in February 2008.


Wake Forest: The Demon Deacons get an extended break before traveling to Pittsburgh on Jan. 31.

UNC: The Tar Heels visit Florida State on Saturday.


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