North Carolina romps over Texas Southern

GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Justin Jackson, who struggled with perimeter shooting the past few weeks, broke out by scoring 19 of his 21 points in the first half as North Carolina bullied Texas Southern in a 103-64 romp in the NCAA Tournament's first round Friday at Bon Secours Wellness Arena.

Jackson made five of eight shots from 3-point range, though he missed his lone two-second half attempts in the South Regional matchup.

Jackson was named the ACC Player of the Year, but in the previous four games he was a combined 7-for-31 on 3-point attempts.

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Isaiah Hicks added 17 points, Kennedy Meeks had 13 points, Tony Bradley supplied 12 points and Luke Maye and Nate Britt each chipped in 10 points for top-seeded North Carolina (28-7).

Next for the Tar Heels is Sunday's second-round game against eighth-seeded Arkansas (26-9), which eliminated ninth-seeded Seton Hall by 77-71 in the site's opening game.

Kevin Scott scored 19 points and Demontrae Jefferson had 13 points for No. 16 seed Texas Southern (23-12), which remained winless in NCAA Tournament play.

North Carolina went 2-2 in its last four games entering the tournament, so Friday's outing should serve as a good confidence booster.

And a potential scare in the second half seemed subdued because starting point guard Joel Berry II limped off with an injured right ankle and was taken out of view for treatment. But he returned to play briefly, wiping away some the initial anxiety among the pro-North Carolina crowd.

With the outcome secured, the Tar Heels used their last five players off the bench for most of the final four minutes.

North Carolina took its biggest lead of the first half at 52-27 at the buzzer on Berry's 3-point basket for his first points of the game.

It was a mostly dominant half for the Tar Heels, who grabbed 30 of the 43 rebounds to that juncture.

While Jackson was hot from the perimeter, his teammates were a combined 1-for-8 on 3-pointers in the opening half.

Texas Southern made only 30 percent (9-for-30) of its first-half shots from the field.