WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Justin Jackson scored 19 points, including a late key 3-pointer and Kennedy Meeks added a double-double and No. 14 North Carolina held off Wake Forest 93-87 on Wednesday night.
Jackson, who was 6-of-13 from the field, also grabbed eight rebounds and blocked two shots, while hitting three 3-pointers, including a huge one to put the Tar Heels up 87-81 with 1:03 left.
Meeks added 18 points and 11 rebounds to go with three blocks and three steals, while Joel Berry II shot 7-of-12 from the floor to finish with 18 points and six assists for North Carolina (15-3, 3-1 Atlantic Coast Conference).
“I think we did a good job of standing our ground and not letting them take the lead,” said Berry.
Isaiah Hicks scored 16 points with five rebounds and Kenny Williams supported with 12 points, five assists and two steals in the win for the Tar Heels, who won three straight and shot 52-percent in the game.
Bryant Crawford paced Wake Forest with 22 points and went a perfect 4-for-4 from the field after the interval, while freshman Brandon Childress adding a season-high 16 points off the bench, which all came in the second half on 4-of-9 shooting with two 3-pointers.
Konstantinos Mitoglou ended with 13 points, seven rebounds and had three blocks and Mitchell Wilbekin scored 11 points in the defeat for the Demon Deacons (10-7, 1-4), who shot 43-percent overall, but were 50-percent from the floor after halftime.
North Carolina led 49-34 at the end of the first period, but Wake Forest outscored the ACC powerhouses 53-44 in the second 20-minutes.
The Tar Heels also led by as many as 19 points in the second half before the Demon Deacons rallied to trimmed the deficit to one-point at 66-65 with 9:43 left.
“We’ve just got to put two halves together,” Crawford said. “We shouldn’t have put ourselves in that hole.
“I feel like we would’ve been fine (otherwise).”
North Carolina held things together down the stretch to build back a lead and then carried on to the victory.
“It’s a road game in the ACC,” UNC forward Jackson said. “We definitely did some things that definitely could’ve hurt us.
“… But for us to come out on top, it was really good.”