CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Justin Jackson scored 26 points and No. 9 North Carolina hit a season-high 14 3-pointers to beat Virginia Tech 91-72 on Thursday night.
Kennedy Meeks added 15 points and 14 rebounds for the Tar Heels (19-3, 7-1), who have climbed into sole possession of first place in the Atlantic Coast Conference with seven straight wins along with No. 6 Florida State's loss at Georgia Tech on Wednesday.
UNC led 44-33 by halftime, then ran off 10 straight points midway through the second half to turn this one into a rout. The Tar Heels also shot 49 percent and snatched down seemingly every loose rebound for a 43-22 edge on the glass, helping them to 20 second-chance points.
Seth Allen scored 19 points for the Hokies (15-5, 4-4), who shot 51 percent for the game but didn't do much to get UNC out of what was often a catch-and-shoot rhythm.
Virginia Tech: Visiting the state of North Carolina hasn't gone well for the Hokies, who lost by 26 to North Carolina State in Raleigh earlier this month. Still, Virginia Tech is at .500 in the league to sit near the middle of the ACC with February looming.
UNC: The Tar Heels' offense is rolling along, whether by Jackson and Joel Berry II (15 points) outside or Meeks in the paint. UNC leads the ACC by a wide margin and is fourth nationally in scoring offense (89.4), and the Tar Heels have scored at least 85 points in seven straight ACC games for the first time in program history. The only bad news Thursday was that junior swingman Theo Pinson left in the first half after rolling his right ankle, though team spokesman Steve Kirschner said he would sit out the rest of the game as a precaution.
Virginia Tech: The Hokies return home to face Boston College on Sunday.
UNC: The Tar Heels travel to Miami on Saturday.
Coming out of the NFL combine, former Maryland safety Darnell Savage Jr. was projected to be a second-round pick in the NFL Draft. But could he end up sliding into the first round on Thursday?
It seems like a possibility now, based on some of the teams he's met with, NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported Monday. And NFL.com analyst Daniel Jeremiah has previously said Savage could rise to the first round too.
NBC Sports Washington's latest NFL Mock Draft has Savage going to the Green Bay Packers as the 44th overall pick.
According to Rapoport, Savage met with 11 teams, including the Carolina Panthers (No. 16 overall pick), Pittsburgh Steelers (No. 20 overall pick), Seattle Seahawks (No. 21 overall pick), Philadelphia Eagles (No. 25 overall pick) and Los Angeles Rams (No. 31 overall pick).
The three-year starter out of College Park was named Second Team All-Big Ten this season after recording 52 tackles (38 solo, 14 assist) for the Terps, along with four interceptions, including one pick six. He's versatile, strong and fast, and even if he gets passed by in the first round of the NFL Draft, it seems unlikely that he'll still be available by the end of the second.
At 5-foot-11 and 198 pounds, Savage ran a 4.36-second 40-yard dash at the NFL combine in February -- a time that was second-fastest among all safeties -- and posted a 39.5-inch vertical, third among safeties, and a 126-inch broad jump. He also had 11 bench-press reps.
Pro Football Focus has Savage listed as the second-best safety in this year's draft class behind Delaware's Nasir Adderley because he's "a missile around the line of scrimmage".
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The George Washington University men's basketball team landed the son of longtime NBA point guard Jameer Nelson Tuesday.
Jameer Nelson Jr., a 2019 guard out of Pennsylvania's Haverford School, decommitted from his father's alma mater (Saint Joseph's) following the news that Phil Martelli would not return for the 2019-20 season.
This marks first-year head coach Jamion Christian's second commitment since being named head coach of the Colonials after one year at Siena College.
Nelson Sr. played in the Association from 2004 to 2018, including 10 seasons in Orlando. The point guard averaged a career-best 16.7 points per game during the 2008-09 campaign.