Pete Nance scored 28 points and No. 1 North Carolina held off an upset bid by Portland, winning 89-81 Thursday at the Phil Knight Invitational in Portland, Ore.
The scoring total matched a career high for Nance, who transferred to UNC this offseason from Northwestern. He reached it by making a career-best five 3-pointers. Nance also had seven boards for the Tar Heels (5-0).
North Carolina also got 23 points from Caleb Love, and 11 points and 13 boards from Armando Bacot. Leaky Black added 11 points and nine rebounds, and R.J. Davis had 13 points — including four in the last 30 seconds.
Bacot’s double-double was the 51st of his career.
The Pilots (4-3) were led by 21 points from Moses Wood and 14 points from Alden Applewhite. Tyler Robertson added 13 points and seven assists.
The Tar Heels led by as many as 10 points in the first half, building that 18-8 advantage with an early 15-2 run. Love scored nine points during that stretch, highlighted by a dunk and a 3-pointer.
UNC took a 40-38 lead into halftime, but the Pilots started the second half by outscoring the Heels 15-8. During that run, Jack Perry had four assists and two points for the Pilots as they grabbed a five-point lead.
The game then saw five lead changes, with the Tar Heels taking the lead for good at 76-75 on a 3-pointer by Black with 4:25 to play. Black then dished to Bacot for a powerful dunk to put UNC ahead 79-76 with 2:51 left.
UNC made a season-best 11 3-pointers and shot a season-high 50 percent from beyond the arc. The Tar Heels did, however, uncharacteristically miss 10 free-throw attempts.
On Friday, the Tar Heels will face the winner of Iowa State versus Villanova.