Cameron Johnson scored 25 points as No. 12 North Carolina defeated No. 4 Gonzaga 103-90 in a non-conference showdown Saturday night at the sold-out Smith Center in Chapel Hill, N.C.
Luke Maye poured in 20 points in a rematch of the 2017 national championship game won by North Carolina.
Tar Heels point guard Coby White, who returned after a one-game absence with an ankle injury, scored 15 points. Seventh Woods tallied 14 points for North Carolina (8-2).
Johnson made 6 of 8 attempts from 3-point range. He wasn’t around for the 2017 title game as he had yet to transfer from Pittsburgh.
Zach Norvell Jr.’s 21 points and Josh Perkins’ 20 points paced Gonzaga (9-2), which was aiming for an 11th consecutive true road victory. Rui Hachimura added 17 points and Brandon Clarke had 15 points.
The Bulldogs threatened to make a run several times in the second half, but a couple of turnovers and missed shots prevented a sustained comeback. Then Johnson bagged a 3-pointer with 8:29 left, stretching the North Carolina lead to 81-68.
Less than two minutes later, it was 87-71 after White scored four points in a row.
Starting guard Corey Kispert of Gonzaga fouled out with four points at the 4:25 mark.
North Carolina overcame 23 turnovers.
Gonzaga, which ascended to the No. 1 ranking after defeating Duke in the Maui Invitational final, has dropped two straight after last weekend’s setback to Tennessee.
North Carolina led 53-39 at halftime, bolstered by 57.1 percent shooting (20 of 35) from the field.
North Carolina led by as many as 17 in the first half. Perkins scored the next eight points before a Johnson 3 after the Tar Heels scrambled to secure an offensive rebound.
Woods scored North Carolina’s final six points of the first half.
The Bulldogs shot 9 of 17 on 2-point attempts in the first half but were hurt by North Carolina’s 22-11 rebounding gap.
Gonzaga has trailed at the half in three of its last four games.
North Carolina missed seven of its first nine shots from the field, but led 13-9 shortly after. When Johnson drove for a dunk, the Tar Heels held a 22-12 edge.
North Carolina has faced two Top 10 opponents across its first 10 games for the first time in five years.
It was the fourth all-time meeting between the teams, but he first on a home court. The Tar Heels lead the series 3-1.
—Field Level Media