Chapel Hill, NC (SportsNetwork.com) - Marcus Paige scored 11 of his 17 points in overtime, as the 14th-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels held off upset-minded Davidson, 97-85, at the Smith Center.
J.P. Tokoto set career highs of 22 points, 11 rebounds, five steals and four blocks for the Tar Heels (8-3), who played their first game since the university announced it would not pursue the reinstatement of P.J. Hairston. The junior guard, who led the team in scoring last season, sat out the first 10 games this season due to eligibility issues.
James Michael McAdoo had 19 points with a personal-best five assists as North Carolina bounced back from Wednesday's home loss to Texas.
Brian Sullivan paced the Wildcats (4-8) with a career-high 33 points. He drained seven 3-pointers, but had a potential game-winning trey go off the rim at the regulation buzzer.
Top scorer De'Mon Brooks returned to the Davidson lineup and finished with 13 points. Brooks, who missed six games with a knee injury, hit a jumper to put the Wildcats up 78-76 with 55.7 seconds remaining in the second half.
Paige was fouled on a drive and sank two free throws to tie the game at 79-79 with 29.3 seconds to play. Davidson held for the final shot, but Sullivan missed the deep 3-pointer.
"I think we were a little bit late in getting the screen for Brian, and Brian had very little options there," Davidson head coach Bob McKillop said about the shot at the end of regulation. "He was forced to take a shot about 4-6 feet outside of what we hoped."
North Carolina dominated the extra session, with a Paige 3-pointer extending the lead to 88-80. Paige later made two from the foul line to push the advantage to double digits at 94-83.
"(I'm) proud of our team's toughness," said North Carolina head coach Roy Williams. "We went to the free throw line and we made some free throws down the stretch."
The Tar Heels ran off 10 straight points to go up 26-19 with eight-plus minutes remaining in the first half. The lead grew to 31-22 on a Jackson Simmons basket, but Davidson closed the gap to 38-35 at halftime.
Sullivan and Tyler Kalinoski nailed consecutive 3-pointers to give the Wildcats an early second-half lead. A three-point play by Brooks made it 49-44 prior to the five-minute mark, but the Tar Heels took back control and grabbed a 60-53 lead with roughly 11 minutes left.