Top seed North Carolina opens ACC Tournament with 78-53 route of Miami

NEW YORK (AP) – Isaiah Hicks had 19 points and No. 6 North Carolina certainly looked like a national championship contender in its postseason debut, beating Miami 78-53 on Thursday in the quarterfinals of the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament.

The top-seeded Tar Heels (27-6) got 12 points from ACC player of the year Justin Jackson and held the smaller Hurricanes to 36 percent shooting, setting up a semifinal Friday night against archrival Duke or No. 8 Louisville.

With the stands at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center sprinkled in Carolina blue, the defending champion Tar Heels didn’t disappoint their fans who made the trip north.

Point guard Joel Berry II added 11 points and five assists, while Kennedy Meeks contributed 10 points and seven rebounds. Hicks sank all nine of his free throws for the big and experienced Tar Heels, hoping a long run in Brooklyn could land them a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Freshman guard Bruce Brown had 21 points and seven rebounds for the ninth-seeded Hurricanes (21-11).

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