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Updated: Sunday, November 28, 2004 11:10 PM EST
NCAA BASKETBALL RECAP
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(12) North Carolina 97, USC 65

CHAPEL HILL, North Carolina (Ticker) -- Jet lag turned out to be a non-issue for Jawal Williams and No. 12 North Carolina.

Williams led five players in double figures with 23 points as the Tar Heels routed Southern California, 97-65, in their home opener.

North Carolina won the Maui Invitational by defeating Iowa, 106-92 on Wednesday, then traveled across five time zones to take on the Trojans.

The Tar Heels (4-1) missed their first three shots, then hit 9-of-11, capped by consecutive buckets by Rashad McCants to jump out to a 22-12 lead.

"I'm still a little jet-lagged," McCants said. "And my body is taking a toll on me adjusting to the times. But I think as a whole, we came together and had a great effort out there."

USC committed 16 turnovers in the opening half, allowing North Carolina to run the floor in transition frequently. Jackie Manuel had consecutive three-point plays in the midst of a 24-4 run over 7 1/2 minutes, leading the Tar Heels to a 56-28 advantage at the half.

"We're in an up-and-down game," Tar Heels coach Roy Williams said. "We're going to share the ball and be unselfish. And I think that gives (us) the assists. I think we played exceptionally well and caught (them) on a night when they didn't play so well."

Williams scored 14 points in the first half for North Carolina, which had a 26-8 edge in fast break points while holding the Trojans to 35 percent (11-of-31) from the field over the first 20 minutes.

North Carolina did not let up in the second half. Raymond Felton, who had 12 assists, tossed an alley-oop pass to Williams for a spectacular one-handed jam and an 83-50 edge with 8:03 left.

Sean May scored 17 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, while Manuel and Marvin Williams had 14 points and McCants added 13 for the Tar Heels.

North Carolina forced 28 turnovers and shot 57 percent (35-of 61) in winning its fourth consecutive game, averaging 96 points during the streak.

"We knew they were going to trap," USC coach Henry Bibby said. "But we tried to dribble through the traps. We were prepared for it. But they were long, athletic and quick and beat us to some of the spots."

Jeff McMillan scored 10 points for USC (1-1), which has lost all seven meetings against the Tar Heels, all played at Chapel Hill.

North Carolina has won 72 of its last 74 home openers, with the losses coming in 1999 and 2001.


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