CHAPEL HILL, North Carolina (Ticker) -- Georgia Tech's second loss of the season was nearly as surprising as its first.
Sean May scored a career-high 28 points as No. 13 North Carolina never trailed and rolled to a 103-88 Atlantic Coast Conference victory over the eighth-ranked Yellow Jackets.
Georgia Tech (12-2, 0-1 ACC) had not played since a double-overtime loss at Georgia eight days ago ended its 12-game winning streak. It was playing at the Dean Smith Center, where it had not won since the 1995-96 season.
The Tar Heels (10-2, 1-1) started strong, scoring the game's first nine points, and never looked back in building a 53-39 halftime lead. They topped the century mark for the fourth time this season and defeated the Yellow Jackets for the 10th time in the last 12 meetings.
"I like what our kids did," North Carolina coach Roy Williams said. "I like how competitive we were. We talked about how our effort had to match theirs. I thought we had to play by far our best game of the year or we wouldn't have won tonight. And I think that was by far our best game of the year."
"I think that on all aspects of the game we kind of had a complete game tonight, especially on the defensive end," May added. "Offensively, we were flowing a little bit, but defensively, we really got after it. I think that is going to be one of our best games of the year."
May sprained his left ankle against North Carolina-Wilmington on December 28 and struggled vs. Kentucky. But he turned in his second straight solid performance. Four nights after collecting 23 points and 16 rebounds in a win over Miami, the sophomore center dominated inside as North Carolina shot 49 percent (35-of-71) and gave coach Williams his first ACC win.
Raymond Felton added 25 points and Rashad McCants chipped in 17 for North Carolina, which avenged last season's 20-point road loss. Felton broke Georgia Tech's press several times, made 7-of-11 shots and converted 10-of-12 free throws.
He also keyed a defensive effort that forced 24 turnovers and limited the Yellow Jackets to 37 percent shooting in the second half and 41.5 percent (27-of-65) overall.
Jarrett Jack led Georgia Tech with 22 points but was among few bright spots for the Yellow Jackets. They had limited opponents to 57.6 points and 36 percent shooting but allowed season highs in both categories.
North Carolina took a 67-46 lead just 4 1/2 minutes into the second half on McCants' layup. The Yellow Jackets got within 72-63 four minutes later but never got the deficit inside double digits after a pair of free throws by Justin Bohlander.
Te Tar Heels played most of the second half without Jawad Williams, who collided with Jack near mid-court and may have broken his nose.
"I think that this says a lot about our team when one of our best players, if not the best player, in Jawad Williams goes down," May said. "For this team to come together tonight when he was out of the game shows a lot of maturity about this team."