No. 1 North Carolina pulls away from Portland late, 89-81

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Top-ranked North Carolina knew there would be tests during its weekend in the Pacific Northwest.

Unexpectedly, its opener was one.

Pete Nance scored 28 points, Caleb Love added 23 and No. 1 North Carolina withstood the Portland Pilots 89-81 in the opening round of the Phil Knight Invitational on Thursday.

The Tar Heels (5-0) needed a late 14-3 run to finally pull away from one of the tournament’s host schools.

“I want us to consistently compete and for the first five games, it’s been there for half, it’s been there for moments, but it hasn’t been there for a full 40 minutes on both ends of the floor,” North Carolina coach Hubert Davis said.

Love carried them in the first half with 16 points and reached the 1,000-point mark in his career, becoming the 80th North Carolina player to reach that mark. North Carolina has the most 1,000-point scorers of any school in the country.

Nance picked up the slack after halftime with 20 points and matched his career high in scoring set last season when he was playing for Northwestern.

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