CHAPEL HILL, North Carolina (Ticker) -- David Noel scored 21 points and Rashard McCants added 19 as North Carolina dominated the second half en route to an 83-72 victory over DePaul in the opening round of the National Invitation Tournament.
Jawad Williams scored 13 of his 16 points after halftime for the Tar Heels, who scored 54 points on 64 percent (18-of-28) shooting in the second half. North Carolina made 6-of-13 3-pointers and 12-of-17 free throws in the final 20 minutes.
The Blue Demons went on a 17-1 run late in the first half led by as many as 12 points. But The Tar Heels pulled within 35-29 at halftime and took over in the final 20 minutes.
North Carolina (18-15) opened the second half on a 22-7 surge, highlighted by a pair of 3-pointer from Williams.
Noel scored five points and McCants and Melvin Scott each added four during the spurt, which gave the Tar Heels a 53-42 cushion with just under 14 minutes remaining.
North Carolina scored seven straight points midway through the second half and took a 65-51 lead on Raymond Felton's free throw with 8:58 to go. The Tar Heels had their largest lead at 79-63 on a 3-pointer by Felton with 3:08 left.
North Carolina advances to play the winner of Thursday's game between Eastern Washington and Wyoming.
North Carolina shot 55 percent (30-of-55) from the floor and made 10-of-28 3-pointers.
Sam Hoskin scored 24 points and Andre Brown collected 14 and 16 rebounds to lead DePaul (16-13), which shot 50 percent (33-of-66) and held a 41-26 rebounding advantage.