Isaiah Hicks scored 21 points and No. 6 North Carolina ruined Jim Boeheim’s return to the bench, beating Syracuse, 84-73, on Saturday night.
Boeheim was back with the Orange after serving a nine-game suspension for NCAA violations. The team went 4-5 in his absence, dropping the last three.
The crowd of 26,811 at the Carrier Dome greeted Boeheim with a standing ovation and then roared throughout the game that was close for 37 minutes before the Tar Heels pulled away to their eighth straight win.
Brice Johnson and Justin Jackson both had 16 points for the Tar Heels (15-2, 4-0 Atlantic Coast Conference), while Joel Berry II added 14.
Johnson was coming off a 39-point, 20-rebound performance against Florida State. He had only four rebounds against Syracuse, but he had eight assists, most of them when he set up in the middle of the Orange’s 2-3 zone and found Jackson and Hicks for dunks and layups.
Trevor Cooney had 27 points for Syracuse (10-7, 0-4), while Malachi Richardson added 16 and Tyler Roberson had 13.
Syracuse was able to stay close for so long by having one of its best rebounding games of the season. The Orange came into the night averaging two rebounds less than its opponents, while North Carolina came in at plus-11. Syracuse finished with a 35-33 advantage, including 14-10 on the offensive glass.
No. 1 Kansas 69, at Texas Tech 59: Frank Mason scored 17 points, Perry Ellis had 15 points and the Jayhawks beat the Red Raiders for their 13th straight victory. Mason and Ellis each had 10 rebounds.
No. 3 Maryland 63, at Wisconsin 60: Melo Trimble hit a long three-pointer with 1.2 seconds left to lift the Terrapins over the Badgers. Trimble finished with 21 points on nine-for-17 shooting in a game in which the Maryland lost an eight-point lead with about 7 minutes to go.
at Georgia Tech 68, No. 4 Virginia 64: Quinton Stephens, Adam Smith and Nick Jacobs each scored 16 points and the Yellow Jackets won their biggest ACC game under fifth-year Coach Brian Gregory. The loss was a rare second in a row for Virginia, matching its loss total of each of the last two years when it won consecutive Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season titles.
Baylor 94, at No. 13 Iowa State 89: Johnathan Motley had a career-high 27 points and added 13 rebounds to help the Bears hand the Cyclones their first home loss of the season. Taurean Prince had 18 points and 10 rebounds for Baylor, which rallied from 11 down to beat Iowa State on the road for the second year in a row.
at La Salle 61, No. 25 Dayton 57: Jordan Price had 17 points and Amar Stukes added 13 as the Explorers upset the Flyers. Price, who reached 1,000 points for his collegiate career, was the spark offensively, but La Salle used two other facets of its game to knock off Dayton: defense and an old-school offense.