After taking a barrage of three pointers by Virginia Tech in the first half, North Carolina rallied from a halftime deficit of 5 to defeat the Hokies, 82-68.
In the first half the intensity was not up to the level they found in the second and the Heels fell behind by as many as 7. But in the second half Carolina picked up their defense and the Hokies failed to convert behind the three point line at the same pace.
Harrison Barnes poured in 27 points and John Henson chipped in 16 points while pulling down 16 rebounds on the night. Tyler Zeller had a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Kendall Marshall dished out 8 assists in the game.
It was a big victory early in conference play as North Carolina tried to forget the 33 point loss to Florida State on Saturday.
Erick Green led the Hokies with 17 points while Dorenzo Hudson dropped in 16 points. Carolina dominated the glass by a margin of 47-25. The Tar Heels shot 85.7% from the free throw line going 18-21, an area they have hoped to improve.
The game changed in the second half when North Carolina went on a 19-0 run going ahead 55-44 with 13:08 left to play. Dexter Strickland suffered what appeared to be a knee injury during the second half run. The severity of the injury is unknown at this point.
Carolina moves to 16-3, 3-1 in conference play and will be in action next on January 26 when they host N.C. State in Chapel Hill.