CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) -- Marcus Paige scored a career-high 23 points to help No. 12 North Carolina push its way past Holy Cross 62-54 on Friday night in the Hall of Fame Tipoff Tournament.
Paige scored 16 points after halftime and joined with fellow sophomore Brice Johnson to give the Tar Heels (2-0) the spark they needed to break free from a 35-all tie. Johnson finished with 12 points for his second double-figure scoring output in two games for UNC, which again played without leading scorer P.J. Hairston and senior guard Leslie McDonald due to NCAA eligibility concerns.
Paige and Johnson combined to score 10 points during the 12-0 run that finally gave the Tar Heels some cushion midway through the second half against the Crusaders (1-2), who hung tough despite a miserable shooting game.
Malachi Alexander scored 13 to lead Holy Cross, which shot 29 percent and missed 17 of 22 3-pointers.