Chapel Hill, NC (Sports Network) - Highly touted freshman forward Harrison Barnes scored 14 points, as eighth-ranked North Carolina opened its season with a hard-fought 80-66 victory over Lipscomb.
Tyler Zeller added 15 points, while sophomore forward John Henson ended with 10 points, 17 rebounds and seven blocked shots for the Tar Heels (1-0). Reggie Bullock and Kendall Marshall came off the bench for 12 and 10 points, respectively.
"I think he feels so much more comfortable and confident now and realizes what his game is," UNC coach Roy Williams said of Henson. "He is much more comfortable in what we're asking him to do, and I do believe that started last year with our postseason run."
Josh Slater had 21 points and nine rebounds for the Bisons (0-1), who also received 14 points from Adnan Hodzic and 13 from Robert Boyd. Last season's Atlantic Sun regular-season champions shot just 34.9 percent from the field.
"They have great speed and quickness," Lipscomb coach Scott Sanderson said. "I thought we did a very good job cutting out their transition baskets by getting back defensively. Their length - it's hard to simulate their length during practice."
North Carolina, coming off a loss to Dayton in the NIT championship game, moved to 89-12 all-time in season-opening games.
Slater's three-pointer widened the Bisons' lead to 10-4 early on, but UNC surged back and was ahead 21-15 following a three-ball from Marshall midway through the first half.
The back-and-forth play continued with the visitors moving to a 29-27 edge after a three-pointer from Boyd, but the Tar Heels netted the final six points of the half for a 43-35 cushion.
Zeller's tip-in stretched the difference to 50-36, but Lipscomb had one last push, getting within 59-56 on a pair of foul shots from Brandon Brown with 8:25 remaining.
Leslie McDonald stemmed the tide by drilling a jumper and Zeller's bucket moved the lead to 69-58 with five minutes to go. Lipscomb never got closer than nine after that juncture.
Carolina has lost its home opener just twice since the 1928-29 season - in 1999-2000 to Michigan State and in 2001-02 to Hampton....The Bisons went 9- of-29 from three-point range...Lipscomb had nine steals, three more than UNC.
11/13 00:45:52 ET
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