Carolina passed the kind of road challenge it wanted to face before starting Atlantic Coast Conference competition.
Kenny Williams sank a go-ahead 3-pointer with 35 seconds left as the seventh-ranked Tar Heels rallied past No. 20 Tennessee 78-73 Sunday.
This was the first game North Carolina (10-1) played all season that was decided by a single-digit margin. Even its lone loss of the season was a 63-45 blowout against No. 2 Michigan State.
“This will be good for us,” Williams said. “Every game in the ACC is like that. To have this experience and know we can pull it out, I think it will come in handy down the road.”
North Carolina (10-1) capitalized on a 9-0 run in the final minute to win for the fifth straight time and ended Thompson-Boling Arena's hex on defending national champions.
Tennessee (7-2) had won each of the last five times it had hosted a defending national champion, a string that included victories over Connecticut (in January 2012), Florida (February 2007 and February 2008) and Kentucky (February 1999 and February 2013).
Joel Berry II scored a game-high 21 points for North Carolina. Williams and Luke Maye added 15 points each.
Tennessee led by as many as nine points in the second half and was ahead 70-67 before North Carolina took control down the stretch.
at No. 5 Arizona State 76, Vanderbilt 64: Tra Holder scored 25 points, Shannon Evans II added 15 and No. 5 Arizona State overcame a dismal start to beat Vanderbilt 76-64 on Sunday.
The Sun Devils (10-0) fell into a 13-0 hole to Vanderbilt (3-7) as they tossed balls out of bounds and directly to the Commodores. Once they got rolling, there was no stopping the Sun Devils.
Sharp at both ends, Arizona State used a 26-3 run spanning halftime to turn what started out as an embarrassing performance into a runaway that had Wells Fargo Arena the loudest it's been all season.
at No. 21 Baylor 118, Savannah State 86: Jo-Lual Acuil had career highs with 31 points and 20 rebounds and Baylor had a 21-0 first-half run to rout Savannah State.
Manu Lecomte added 25 points for Baylor (9-2), King McClure had 19, Nuni Omot 18, and Mark Vital 12. Dexter McClananahan led Savannah State (3-10) with 22 points, and Austin Dasent had 18.
at Montana 77, UC Riverside 61: The Highlanders (3-7) gave up the first nine points and never challenged the Grizzlies (6-4). DJ Sylvester scored 18 points for Riverside.
at Eastern Washington 86, Cal State Northridge 58: Tavrio Dawson scored 16 points, but the Matadors (1-9) lost their ninth game in a row. Bogdan Bliznyuk scored 16 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for the Eagles (4-8).
at Washington 80, Loyola Marymount 78: Jaylen Nowell scored 21 points and Noah Dickerson added 20 as the Huskies (8-3) held off the Lions (5-5). James Batemon scored a season-high 30 points for Loyola.