Joel Berry II scored 21 points as No. 14 North Carolina fought off a few second-half Notre Dame rallies in an 83-66 victory Monday night at the Smith Center in Chapel Hill, N.C.
North Carolina (20-7, 9-5 Atlantic Coast Conference) won a third league game in a five-day span, putting the Tar Heels percentage points behind third-place Duke.
Theo Pinson’s 16 points, Kenny Williams’ 14 points and Cameron Johnson’s 13 points bolstered the Tar Heels, who have their second four-game winning streak since Christmas.
North Carolina hit the 20-win mark for the 14th time in coach Roy Williams’ 15 seasons.
Notre Dame sophomore forward John Mooney scored 15 first-half points on 5-for-5 shooting from 3-point range, finishing with a career-high 18 points. He made all six of his 3-point tries.
Martinas Geben scored 14 of his 18 points in the second half for the Fighting Irish, who had won back-to-back games following a seven-game losing streak. T.J. Gibbs added 10 points despite 1-for-9 shooting from the field.
North Carolina, which was coming off victories against neighboring Duke and North Carolina State, played three ACC games in a five-day stretch for the first time since 1991, when a rescheduled contest caused that busy span.
Kenny Williams bagged a 3-pointer as North Carolina took a 51-42 lead with less than 15 1/2 minutes to play for the largest lead of the game at that juncture.
The Fighting Irish (15-11, 5-8) were within 58-57 with more than nine minutes left.
Pinson racked up five points in a row as the margin stretched to 72-63.
North Carolina led 38-34 at halftime for only its second advantage through 20 minutes in the last five games.
North Carolina went on a 10-0 spurt for a 12-5 lead, causing Notre Dame coach Mike Brey to call for a timeout.
Mooney hit four 3-pointers to help the Fighting Irish stay in range at 32-29. He added another in the final 90 seconds of the half, creating a career high in that category with another half to play.
Notre Dame, which lost by a point to North Carolina last month at home, was 8-for-15 on first-half free throws. The Irish finished 12 of 23 at the foul line, while the Tar Heels were 13 of 20.
This was Notre Dame’s third visit to North Carolina’s Triangle region in a 15-day period, with the Irish having lost at Duke and North Carolina State.
--Field Level Media