CHAPEL HILL, N.C. —
"I thought we let our guard down and ... we just kind of forgot who we were playing and lost sense of simple things," BC coach Steve Donahue said.
Matt Humphrey scored 14 points and Ryan Anderson added 13 for BC (5-10, 0-1), which had 20 turnovers in losing its third straight.
Henson added 14 points, Kendall Marshall had 11 assists and Barnes reached 20 points for the third time in four games for North Carolina, which surely remembered how uneasy the Eagles made things in their last visit to the Smith Center — especially as they threatened for a while to do it again.
Boston College slowed it down last February and came within a rimmed-out 3-pointer at the buzzer of a memorable upset. Instead, North Carolina escaped with a 48-46 victory in its lowest-scoring performance at the 26-year-old arena.
"We just went at them" this time, Humphrey said. "They probably expected us to make it a grinding game and slow it down, but in reality, that's the way we play as well. We just should have kept a little bit more poise and saved some of those turnovers."
The Tar Heels had nearly that many points at halftime of this one, racing to a 40-27 lead at the break.
Barnes scored 12 in the first 20 minutes, and after North Carolina let BC hang around for a little while, it grabbed control by cranking up the defense — and letting the young Eagles make plenty of mistakes.
After Boston College hit six of its first 11 shots, the Tar Heels forced BC into nine consecutive empty possessions as part of the 18-5 run that put them in command — for a while, anyway.
BC turned it over 11 times in the half, and the defining play came on a sequence that could have been miscue No. 12. Heckmann let a long heave fly with the shot clock about to expire, Henson grabbed it out of the air and passed ahead to Marshall — who found Barnes for an authoritative dunk that pushed the lead to double figures.
"When it looked like Carolina was going to shove us out the door, I thought these guys showed a lot of character and toughness," Donahue said.