LAHAINA, Hawaii — Maybe North Carolina should have just gone to the beach. Butler is the team to beat in Maui.
Rotnei Clarke and Kellen Dunham each scored 17 points Tuesday night to lead the unranked Bulldogs to an 82-71 win over No. 9 UNC in the second round of the Maui Invitational.
Butler jumped out to a 17-point halftime lead and held back several second-half surges from the Tar Heels.
“It was an entertaining game to be a part of," Butler coach Brad Stevens said. “When you are playing a program like Carolina, you know they are coming. Their run is coming next."
The runs sure came, but UNC was too far behind to make them worth anything.
“We just dug too big a hole against a very, very good team," North Carolina coach Roy Williams said.
The Tar Heels (4-1) missed their first three shots and never led.
One day after beating Marquette at the buzzer, Butler (3-1) held North Carolina to 18 points in the first half — by far the worst output in a half for the Tar Heels so far this season.
P.J. Hairston led UNC with 15 points. Marcus Paige and Reggie Bullock each scored 13.
Andrew Smith had 13 points for Butler, while Kyhle Marshall had 10 points and 11 rebounds.
Butler got out to a 10-2 lead in just over four minutes then built it to 14 points with a 9-0 run capped by a layup from Erik Fromm with 9:36 left in the first half. Minutes later, Fromm grinned and nodded after hitting a 3-pointer from the top of the key that put Butler up 16 with less than four minutes to go in the half.
Meanwhile, Paige and James McAdoo combined for just nine points in the opening 20 minutes as UNC made only a combined eight shots.
“In the first half, they really kicked us," Williams said. “In the second half, we’re trying to make comebacks, but they were making shots."
Butler took a 27-point lead roughly seven minutes into the second half. Duhman hit back-to-back 3s less than 19 seconds apart thanks to a steal and nifty assist from Clarke.
But the talented Tar Heels did not go quietly.
Hairston scored 10 straight — eight points in just over one minute and screaming after every bucket — to pull Carolina within 17 with 9:39 to go. Carolina pulled within six with less than two minutes left after scoring eight points in just over 40 seconds, including six from Paige.
But Butler hit five free throws in the last 1:01 to nail down the win.
Also on Tuesday:
No. 1 Indiana 82
NEW YORK — A night after an ineffective game, Cody Zeller had 17 points and eight rebounds to lead Indiana (5-0) to an overtime win in the title game of the Legends Classic tournament.
No. 7 Florida 58
Savannah State 40
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Mike Rosario scored 13 points, Patric Young added a double-double and the Gators (4-0) overwhelmed Savannah State.
No. 11 UCLA 60
NEW YORK — Freshman Shabazz Muhammad scored 21 points and the Bruins (4-1) made enough free throws late to hold off the Bulldogs in the consolation game of the Legends Classic tournament.
No. 12 Kansas 73
Saint Louis 59
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Jeff Withey matched a career high with 25 points, Travis Releford added 23 and the Jayhawks (4-1) held off Saint Louis to win the CBE Classic.
No. 14 Creighton 105
OMAHA, Neb. — Doug McDermott and Gregory Echenique scored 17 points apiece to lead four Creighton (4-0) players in double figures, and the Bluejays defeated Longwood.
No. 15 Michigan State 74
Boise State 70
EAST LANSING, Mich. — Keith Appling scored 22 points while Branden Dawson and Denzel Valentine made key contributions to help slow-starting Michigan State (3-1) rally twice to beat the Broncos.
No. 22 Cincinnati 91
CINCINNATI — Cashmere Wright scored a career-high 28 points and the Bearcats (4-0) remained undefeated with a win in the Global Sports Invitational.
LAHAINA, Hawaii — Dewayne Dedmon hit a layup and a free throw with less than two minutes left in overtime to help USC win at the Maui Invitational.
Texas A&M 55
Washington State 54
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Elston Turner hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key with two seconds left, and Texas A&M won in the consolation game of the CBE Classic. Dexter Kernich-Drew had a career-high 16 points for the Cougars (2-3).
Arizona State 64
TEMPE, Ariz. — Jahii Carson scored 21 points, Jordan Bachynski blocked seven shots and Arizona State (3-0) won.