Joel Berry carried North Carolina in the second half but Florida State had the final answer.
No. 24 FSU bothered Berry’s shot with 1.7 seconds left just enough to hold on for an 81-80 win on Wednesday night over the 12th-ranked Tar Heels.
Berry scored 21 of his 28 points in the second half and led the Tar Heels (12-3, 1-1 ACC) back from an 11-point halftime deficit.
But FSU got 20 points from guard Braian Angola and used a key 14-4 run after UNC took a 65-63 lead in the second half to end a seven-game losing streak to the Tar Heels.
FSU (12-2, 1-1) was up 81-77 and in control with 40 seconds left but got careless with the ball. Theo Pinson stole a crosscourt pass and kicked it ahead to Berry for a 3-pointer with 29.8 seconds.
Berry’s shot cut FSU’s lead to 81-80 with 29.8 seconds left. The Noles missed four free throws in the final 25 seconds to keep giving UNC chances.
Berry’s tough runner from just outside the paint with 1.7 seconds left would have given UNC the win but it glanced off the rim.
Pinson fouled Terance Mann on the rebound but Mann missed both free throws and UNC had one last heave but Kenny Williams shot from near midcourt never got to the rim.
Williams made 4 of 5 3-pointers in the first half and scored 16 points. The problem for UNC, other than defensive lapses, was the rest of the starting lineup only had 16 points and the Heels trailed 51-40 at the break.
FSU used an 11-2 run, starting at 11:28 in the first half, to take control of the game. Sophomore guard C.J. Walker scored eight straight points, the first six on 3-pointers, as FSU went from up 20-16 to up 31-18 in the span of 100 seconds.
Joe Giglio: 919-829-8938, @jwgiglio