CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – North Carolina guard Marcus Paige scored a game-high 23 points, to lead the 12th-ranked Tar Heels to a 62-54 victory over the Holy Cross men's basketball team at the Dean E. Smith Center. Freshman forward Malachi Alexander (Bowie, Md.) led the Crusaders with 13 points and five rebounds on the night, while senior forward Dave Dudzinski (Elburn, Ill.) added 11 points and five boards. Holy Cross falls to 1-2 on the season with the loss, while North Carolina improves to 2-0 overall.
The Tar Heels opened the game by jumping out to an early 11-1 lead with 14:53 remaining in the first half. North Carolina had increased its lead to 11 points (15-4) at the 11:54-mark, when the Crusaders turned up the defensive pressure. Holy Cross held the Tar Heels scoreless for the next seven minutes, but was only able to score six points of its own during that time to make the score 15-10. North Carolina was able to build its lead back up to 11 points (23-12) with three minutes left before the break, before the Crusaders scored nine straight points to make the score 23-21. Freshman guard Anthony Thompson (Glenn Dale, Md.) would then hit all four of his free throw attempts in the final 40 seconds of the half, and the teams went into the locker room tied at 25-25.
Holy Cross was able to claim a 32-29 advantage early in the second half, and the score was later tied at 35-35 with 13:42 to go following a three-pointer by junior guard Justin Burrell (Dumfries, Va.). The Tar Heels then went on a 12-0 run over the next five minutes to take control of the game. North Carolina went up by as many as 13 (52-39) and held an 12-point advantage (56-44) with four minutes remaining, when the Crusaders scored the next six points to make things interesting. But the Tar Heels would hit six of eight free throws in the final minute, to hold on for an eight-point victory.
The Crusaders held the Tar Heels to 38.3 percent shooting from the field and 30.0 percent shooting from three-point range on the night. Holy Cross also stayed with the much larger North Carolina team on the boards, with the Tar Heels holding just a 39-38 advantage.
The Crusaders return to action on Wednesday, Nov. 20, when they travel to Fairfield for a 7:00 p.m. game.