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Paige, No. 12 North Carolina hold off Holy Cross

Chapel Hill, NC (SportsNetwork.com) - Marcus Paige poured in a career-high 23 points and No. 12 North Carolina held off upset-minded Holy Cross, 62-54, in the first game of the Hall of Fame Tipoff Tournament for both teams.

Brice Johnson added 12 points and James Michael McAdoo chipped in with 11 points for the Tar Heels (2-0), who shot just 38.3 percent (23-for-61).

"He was a scorer in high school, I like scoring point guards. Ty Lawson was a scorer, Raymond Felton was a scorer. A scoring point guard gives you a different dimension," said UNC head coach Roy Williams.

UNC was without stars P.J. Hairston and Leslie McDonald, who continue to sit out with unresolved eligibility issues.

"A 62-54 game was probably a little different than everyone expected, we both like to play at a faster pace. You have to give Holy Cross some credit, they made us miss some shots and take some bad shots," Williams said. "It was ugly, but at the end I like what we did in the second half."

The Heels will face Belmont on Sunday before taking on Richmond on Nov. 23.

Malachi Alexander scored 13 points and Dave Duzinski added 11 for the Crusaders (1-2), who were coming off a thrilling 122-118 double-overtime win over Sacred Heart on Wednesday.

The Tar Heels led 11-1 after the first five minutes, but the Crusaders clawed their way back into the contest and pulled within five, 15-10, following Malcom Miller's trey at the six-minute mark.

UNC pushed its spread back to double digits after Isaiah Hicks' fastbreak layup, but Holy Cross outscored the Tar Heels 13-2 over the final 2:38 of the first half to go into the break knotted up at 25-25.

The Crusaders led by as many as three, 32-29 early in the second half, but 12 straight points from the Heels staked UNC to a 47-35 edge.

Holy Cross managed to pull within six, 56-50, with 1:14 remaining, but couldn't get closer the rest of the way.

Game Notes

Paige was 8-for-17 shooting, including 3-of-8 from 3-point range ... North Carolina leads the all-time series 2-1. The last meeting between the schools came on Dec. 22, 1956 ... Holy Cross, which shot a dismal 29.4 percent (15-for-51), failed to reach 70 points for the first time this season.

11/15 23:23:57 ET

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