CLEVELAND (Ticker) -- Jawad Williams had a successful homecoming after all.
Williams scored 24 points, including a go-ahead 3-pointer, and grabbed nine rebounds as No. 10 North Carolina escaped with an 82-76 triumph over Cleveland State.
The Tar Heels (3-0), trailed, 76-72, with three minutes remaining before closing the game on a 10-0 run. Williams, a Cleveland native, gave North Carolina a 78-76 advantage with a 3-pointer with 1:26 left.
"To win here is a great feeling," said Williams, whose mother, Gail, played for Cleveland State. "I had a lot of friends and family here today."
Raymond Felton and Melvin Scott each nailed a pair of free throws in the final minute to help the Tar Heels secure the victory in the first meeting between the schools.
"I've never won the lottery, (but) when you win the lottery you must feel as lucky as I do now," Tar Heels coach Roy Williams said. (Cleveland State coach Mike Garland) and his staff outcoached us. They played with more intelligence and deserved to win the game."
"There's certainly no satisfaction in going out and playing close," Garland said. "We didn't come out here to play close, we came to win the ballgame."
Sean May contributed 19 points and 13 rebounds and Rashad McCants 18 and 13 for North Carolina, which jumped out to a 25-11 lead midway through the first half before Cleveland State rallied to take a 41-37 halftime edge.
"Cleveland State kept coming after us," Roy Williams said. "We had the lead up to 14 in the first half and we thought it would be easy. We became casual. My team has had adversity the last few years. I am proud of the way we played the last six minutes."
The Tar Heels outrebounded the Vikings, 49-38.
Omari Westley set career highs with 20 points and 11 rebounds and Percell Coles chipped in 15 points for the Vikings (2-1).
"We don't feel great," Westley said. "This is a stepping stone. We know what we needed to do to win. North Carolina played great and we played great. Unfortunately, someone had to lose."