CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Dexter Strickland scored 14 points to help No. 5 North Carolina beat Nicholls State 99-49 on Monday night.
Freshman James Michael McAdoo added a season-high 14 off the bench for the Tar Heels (10-2), who dominated the undersized and overmatched Colonels for their fourth straight victory. North Carolina had a miserable shooting start and missed a bunch of free throws, but the Tar Heels snatched away every loose rebound to get plenty of extra looks.
They finished with a 72-35 advantage, including 31 on the offensive glass that led to 36 second-chance points.
The 31 offensive boards were second-most in program history. The Tar Heels had 39 rebounds by halftime to match or exceed their total for six games this season.
Bryan Hammond scored 15 to lead Nicholls State (4-8), which didn't manage a point for the first 5½ minutes and shot just 31 percent for the game.
The Tar Heels are midway through a nine-game homestand that will keep them at the Smith Center through their first two Atlantic Coast Conference games in January. The next game comes Wednesday night against Texas — which beat North Carolina in Greensboro on a last-second shot last season — so Monday night's game offered the Tar Heels a chance to fine-tune their game before facing the Longhorns.
Instead, playing in front of a flat crowd in a building with plenty of empty seats, the Tar Heels missed shot after shot to open the game, including plenty of in-close looks that rolled harmlessly off the rim. But with Nicholls State's tallest starter at 6-foot-7, the Tar Heels' front line of Harrison Barnes (6-8), John Henson (6-11) and Tyler Zeller (7-0) had no trouble leading UNC's rebounding onslaught.
In fact, North Carolina had a 30-7 rebounding advantage in the first 12½ minutes, including 18-0 on the offensive boards. North Carolina's first seven baskets were second-chance points, including a stickback from Reggie Bullock that capped a six-shot possession.
North Carolina led 20-9 on a jumper from Strickland, then ran off seven straight points to push the lead to 18 on a pair of baskets from Barnes. The lead grew to 28 by late in the half, then increased to as many as 52 points in the final minutes.
Freshman P.J. Hairston added 13 points for UNC, while Bullock finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Henson and Zeller each pulled down 11 rebounds, while Henson also had seven blocked shots.
But the Tar Heels made just 7 of 21 free throws in the first half before warming up to finish at 21 for 41 for the game.
Nicholls State shot just 2 for 22 from 3-point range.