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Pete Nance and Caleb Love lead Tar Heels’ win over Portland

PORTLAND, Ore. – Pete Nance scored 28 points, Caleb Love added 23 and No. 1 UNC basketball survived an unexpected Test by Portland to beat the Pilots 89-81 in the opening round of Thursday’s Phil Knight Invitational.

It took the Tar Heels (5-0) a late 14-3 run to eventually break away from one of the tournament’s host schools.

Love wore them in the first half with 16 points and hit the 1,000-point mark in his career, becoming the 80th North Carolina player to reach that mark. North Carolina has the most 1,000 point scorers of any school in the country.

Nance picked up the doldrums after halftime with 20 points and achieved his career leading scorer last season while playing for Northwestern.

Moses Wood led Portland (4-3) by 21 points. The pilots only let their heels pull away in the closing minutes when Portland left the field cold. Portland had just one field goal in the last 4 minutes – Tyler Robertson hit a 3-pointer with 50 seconds left to reduce North Carolina’s lead to 84-81.

11/24/2022;  Portland, Oregon, USA;  North Carolina Tar Heels guard Caleb Love (2) tries to steal the basketball away from Portland Pilots center Joey St. Pierre (44) during the first half at the Moda Center.  Mandatory Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

But that was the last chance for the Pilots, as RJ Davis hit a 17-footer for the Tar Heels with 26 seconds left to end the game. Davis finished with 13 points, Armando Bacot had 11 points and 13 rebounds, and Leaky Black had 11 points.

Robertson, Portland’s top scorer, finished the game with 13 points after being scoreless in the first half. Alden Applewhite added 14 from the bench.

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