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Off the cuff: The shooting and the defense improved drastically in the second half against Wake Forest.

The Tar Heels shot 44 percent in the first half but 60 percent in the second half.

"Defensive tenacity and just playing more aggressively translated to success on the offensive end," said Seth Trimble, who played nearly all of the last fourth of the game.

Carolina may have gotten a break from a medical emergency in the stands where a woman had to be carted to the hospital. The Heels led 61-60 at that point with 11:15 to go but Wake Forest was on fire prior to that point.

Wake cooled off. Much of that was due to the aggressive defense to which Trimble referred.

With Pete Nance out injured, the Tar Heels seemed to spend most of the first half looking for the right combination on the court.

Justin McKoy got 17 minutes of playing time, coming up with a couple of big rebounds and blocked shots.

Most of the last 10 minutes, however, the same five were on the court: Bacot, Black, Davis, Love and Trimble.

That's obviously a much smaller lineup than when Nance is available but the three-guard offense worked.

As a side note, R.J. Davis scored his 1,000th point as a Tar Heel.

Carolina 88, Wake Forest 79
Davis, Black leads Heels to 2nd-half rally

North Carolina, playing with some adversity, got a season-high 27 points from R.J. Davis, 22 of which came in the second half, to rally from six down in the second half to defeat Wake Forest 88-79 at home. (1/4)

The Tar Heels were playing without starter Pete Nance, who went out with an ongoing back issue fewer than two minutes into the game. Replacement Jalen Washington quickly picked up three fouls.

"It's important for us to dig deeper - there are times when you're met with adversity," UNC coach Hubert Davis said. "You just have to dig deeper and play."

The lift Carolina needed in the first half came from Leaky Black, who had 14 points in the half including three triples over the span of just three minutes. Coach Davis pointed more to Black's defense in the second half when the Tar Heels really took advantage of Wake turnovers.

Black, who finished with a career-high 18 points, had three steals and played locked down defense in the second half.

Carolina made eight turnovers in the first half but only committed one in the second half, turning the tide on Wake. The Tar Heels scored 32 points off 15 Deacon turnovers, most of which came in the second half.

Wake, leading 38-37 at the half, started the second half hot, hitting eight of its first 10 shots to go up 58-52.

After narrowing the lead to one at 64-63, the Heels went on a 7-0 run highlighted by an Armando Bacot steal followed by a Davis three that made it 70-64 with just more than eight minutes to play.

Carolina extended the margin to eight at 75-67 when Caleb Love, who had a dreadful shooting night, came up big with a three from the top of the key.

Davis hit a step-back three from the right corner to make it 84-75 with 3:37 to go. It never got closer than seven the rest of the way as Carolina got its largest lead of 88-77 on a Black steal and slam dunk with seconds left.

Wake Forest, now 10-5 overall and 2-2 in the ACC, was led by Damari Monsanto's 17 points.

Bacot added 20 points to Davis' team-leading 27 and Black's 18 while Seth Trimble came off the beach for a career-high 11 points on a four-for-four performance.

Carolina, now 10-5 overall and 2-2 in the conference, plays at home again Saturday at 11:30 a.m. against Notre Dame.

Box score

UNC's R.J. Davis was the big man on campus with a season-high 27 points. (UNC Sports Information photo.)

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