Originally written on Fox Sports South  |  Last updated 10/15/14
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) -- P.J. Hairston scored 15 points in his first career start to help North Carolina beat No. 20 UNLV 79-73 on Saturday. Dexter Strickland added a season-high 16 points for the Tar Heels (10-3), who led by 15 points in the first half and by nine at the break. But UNC had to turn away a second-half surge by the Runnin' Rebels (11-2) to earn the program's 63rd straight home win against nonconference opponents. Freshman Anthony Bennett had 15 points and 13 rebounds for UNLV, which led by a point briefly in the second half but spent most of the game in catch-up mode. Katin Reinhardt and Anthony Marshall each added 15 points for the Runnin' Rebels, who also got Mike Moser back from an elbow injury after a four-game absence. Hairston started in place of Reggie Bullock, who sat out with a mild concussion suffered in Thursday's practice. Hairston finished 5 for 10 from the field and hit two 3-pointers, but the 6-foot-5 sophomore turned in a strong overall performance that included four rebounds, four steals and two charges taken. He also knocked down two free throws with 28.5 seconds left that made it a two-possession game after the Runnin' Rebels had closed within 76-73. Strickland added two more free throws with 4.7 seconds left. James Michael McAdoo shook off a poor first half and finished with 13 points and nine rebounds for the Tar Heels, who shot 51 percent for the game and scored 18 points off 17 turnovers by UNLV. The Tar Heels fell out of the Top 25 after a loss at Texas and hadn't played since a 34-point home win over McNeese State three days before Christmas. They looked sharp and active early in this one, frequently getting hands in passing lanes or stripping the ball to build the first-half lead. Then, after UNLV had closed within one midway through the second half, the Tar Heels put together a 7-1 spurt to re-build some of its lost early cushion. McAdoo scored a tough basket over Bennett inside, then freshman Marcus Paige followed with a jumper over Khem Birch. Two minutes later, freshman Brice Johnson went up in traffic to rebound a missed shot from Strickland and score on a putback that made it 71-64 with 4:40 left. Strickland hit a jumper near the foul line that barely beat the shot clock for a 74-68 lead with 1:30 left, though the Tar Heels couldn't close it out until those final seconds. Moser, a 6-8 junior averaging about 11 points and eight rebounds, hadn't played since dislocating his right elbow at California on Dec. 9. He was hurt when his right arm bent awkwardly under an opposing player as the two dived on the court for a loose ball. He recently returned to practice, entered this game at the 13:28 mark of the first half and knocked down a 3-pointer over J.P. Tokoto just before halftime to bring the Runnin' Rebels within 39-30. It was his only basket of the game.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

LSU fan dies at end of win over Ole Miss

Giants surge past Royals to even World Series

Mich. St. upset with Michigan over spear planted on field

TCU puts up 82 points in win over Texas Tech

Agent: Joe Maddon prepared to sit out season if need be

Report: Chandler Jones could miss rest of season

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Army football enticed recruits with alcohol, women

Report: Kobe viewed Dwight Howard's departure as 'positive'

Lions suspend CJ Mosley, send him home from London

Federal judge blocks New Jersey sports betting law

Report: Bucs sign Gerald McCoy to seven-year extension

Tim Tebow lectures Florida fans about booing

WATCH: Kansas St. fans chant 'We own Texas!'

WATCH: Chris Fowler rips 'stupid' fans over ESPN-SEC bias

WATCH: 5-year-old fan cries over Zdeno Chara's injury

LSU knocks off No. 3 Ole Miss

Miss. St. returns onside kick for TD in win over Kentucky

Bad idea: Couple goes blackface for Ray Rice Halloween costume

WATCH: Kentucky DB Blake McClain lays out Miss. St. WR

WATCH: Dwyane Wade videobombs himself

PHOTO: Blue Jackets forward came real close to losing his eye

WATCH: 350-pound Arkansas lineman throws TD pass

Penn State fans blew air horns outside Ohio State's hotel?

WATCH: Oregon's Charles Nelson has impressive punt return TD

College Basketball News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

WATCH: Fowler rips 'stupid' fans

Maddon prepared to sit out season

MSU upset with Michigan over spear

Couple in Ray Rice Blackface costume

Report: Army enticed recruits with alcohol, women

Penn State fans blew air horn at Ohio State players' hotel?

Tim Tebow lectures Florida fans

NBA Replay Center debuts next week

World Series win = Giants dynasty?

Reliving the worst college football game of the last 10 years

NFL teams facing must-win scenarios in Week 8

What the return of Luis Suarez means for Barcelona

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.