No. 6 North Carolina pulled away late in a close game to spoil legendary coach Jim Boeheim's return to the sidelines with an 84-73 win over Syracuse on Saturday night at the Carrier Dome.
The Tar Heels (15-2, 4-0 ACC) were led by Isaiah Hicks with 21 points and eight rebounds as they improved to 4-0 in conference play for the first time under head coach Roy Williams.
Brice Johnson added 16 point and a team-high eight assists, while Kennedy Meeks, seeing his first game action in four week due to a knee injury, had eight points in limited minutes.
Syracuse (10-7, 0-4 ACC) got off to a good start with a raucous crowd at it's back to welcome back Boeheim after a nine-game suspension for violations of NCAA rules and regulations. But a lack of depth hurt the Orange, who were in the game until the closing seconds before getting worn down.
Trevor Cooney led all scorers with 27 points, including 15 from behind the arc in the losing effort.