Dec. 3, 2008

COLUMBUS, Ohio AP) -- Jessica Breland scored 29 points and second-ranked North Carolina held No. 18 Ohio State scoreless for more than nine minutes of the second half to take a 72-63 victory Wednesday night in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

Breland, averaging 13.5 points a game, had 21 in the opening half as the Tar Heels (9-0) opened a 41-37 lead. Cetera DeGraffenreid added 14 points and six assists and Rashanda McCants had 10 points for North Carolina, which improved to 21-9 against the Big Ten and evened its record against the Buckeyes at 3-3.

The Tar Heels sealed the outcome with a 17-0 second-half run.

Jantel Lavender had 27 points and 13 rebounds for the Buckeyes (6-2), who led 52-49 with 11:56 left before missing their next 12 shots from the field with six turnovers over a span of 9 minutes, 20 seconds. Star Allen added 12 points, Ashlee Trebilcock had 10 points and Samantha Prahalis had 13 assists.

Ahead 41-37 at the half, the Tar Heels pulled away at the outset of the second half. McCants hit a jumper before Breland scored on consecutive possessions, once on a baseline drive and then on a nifty pass from McCants to make it 47-37. They hit their first three shots of the half, while Ohio State missed its first four and had three turnovers over the opening three minutes.

Just as suddenly, the game swung the other way.

Prahalis had two breathtaking assists. On the first, she dribbled behind her back at midcourt to avoid a defender and then fired a no-look pass to Lavender for a layup. She then lobbed a court-length pass to Allen for a breakaway layup.

The Tar Heels went almost six minutes without a point as the Buckeyes ran off 13 points in a row -- eight by Lavender.

The teams traded baskets until the Tar Heels regained the upper hand as Ohio State suddenly went cold. The Buckeyes led 52-49 on Lavender's basket with 11:56 left but then didn't score until Trebilcock hit two free throws with 2:36 left.

McCants' free throw and a reverse layup by Chay Shegog tied it at 52 with 10:51 remaining. Breland then hit a follow, Iman McFarland scored off an assist by Shegog, McFarland hit a layup and Breland popped in a 10-footer to make it 60-52 with 5:23 left. McCants then scored inside and after the Tar Heels hit two free throws the lead was 64-52 with under 3 1/2 minutes left.

The Buckeyes led by as many as nine points in the first half. Breland virtually carried the Tar Heels, hitting seven of nine shots from the field, including both of her 3-point attempts, along with five of six free throws for 21 points.

North Carolina scored one point in almost four minutes to fall behind 22-13 but came back later with an 8-0 run to take the lead at 35-33 on a Breland 15-foot turnaround.

Lavender had 15 points and eight rebounds with Prahalis adding seven assists in the first half.

North Carolina was the highest-ranked opponent to play in Value City Arena since No. 2 Purdue came in to beat the Buckeyes 64-56 on Jan. 26, 1999.

Ohio State was 71-3 at home since the start of the 2004-05 season.

It was the first meeting between the teams since North Carolina won 75-67 on Dec. 18, 1980.