CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) After a huge first half, RJ Davis saw no reason to back off.

Davis poured in four straight 3-pointers during a riveting second-half stretch on his way to a career-high 42 points, and No. 9 North Carolina held off skidding Miami 75-71 on Monday night.

“I kind of felt good most of the game,” Davis said. “Came out hot. I told myself since I had a good first half to continue to stay on it. I was aggressive and shots were falling. For me to have a performance like that tonight means the world to me.”

Davis, a senior guard who set a single-game Smith Center scoring record, had 21 points in each half. He picked up the pace with a dazzling display with less than 7 1/2 minutes to play, and ended up shooting 7 for 11 on 3s.

The only player for the Tar Heels (22-6, 14-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) to score in double figures, Davis went 1 for 2 at the free-throw line with 24.4 seconds remaining to give UNC a 73-70 advantage.

“It wasn’t just his points,” coach Hubert Davis said. “I thought he was great defensively, took care of the ball. We needed every bit of his 42.”

Norchad Omier had 22 points, Bensley Joseph scored 21 and Kyshawn George added 14 to lead Miami (15-14, 6-12), which lost its seventh game in a row.

Omier missed a hook shot in the lane that could have tied it with about 45 seconds left. Then twice in the last 25 seconds, North Carolina secured offensive rebounds off missed free throws.

“That was a valiant effort on our part,” Miami coach Jim Larranaga said. “RJ Davis had an answer every time we made a run.”

North Carolina, with three regular-season games remaining, stretched its ACC lead to 1 1/2 games over second-place Duke.

Davis racked up the most points for a Tar Heels player since Shammond Williams scored 42 in a 1998 double-overtime win at Georgia Tech.

“He put us on his back and took over the game,” forward Harrison Ingram said. “RJ took the ball and (let’s) see what he does.”

Miami got close after trailing 64-50, even with Davis completing his outburst with four 3-pointers in slightly more than three minutes for a 13-point lead before the four-minute mark.

“I’m just locked in, just confident in myself and my shot,” he said.

Earlier in the second half, North Carolina went ahead 50-38 before Miami rattled off the next eight points.

Davis, who has scored 20 or more points in a half four times this season, propelled the Tar Heels to a 37-32 lead at the break. He scored 18 of North Carolina’s first 28 points.

Davis was coming off his second-lowest point total (12) of the season Saturday at Virginia.

“I believe in myself,” he said. “I believe in my work, and coming into this game I knew I was going to be good in terms of shooting the ball.”

The game marked the largest gap in North Carolina history between its leading scorer and second-leading scorer (Ingram had eight points).


The previous arena record was 40 points by former Tar Heels All-American Tyler Hansbrough against Georgia Tech in 2006. … Miami guards Wooga Poplar and Nigel Pack weren’t in uniform because of lower-body injuries. Poplar has started 26 games this season. Pack sat out his fourth straight.


Miami: The Hurricanes were already assured a losing conference record for the fourth time in six seasons. They fell to 1-4 against AP Top 25 teams this season.

North Carolina: Began a three-game homestand and gave Hubert Davis a victory in his 100th game (71-29) as head coach. It took time for the energy level to rise in the building, but RJ Davis made sure to provide enough thrills.


Miami: At home March 6 vs. Boston College.

North Carolina: At home Saturday vs. North Carolina State.


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