Second-ranked North Carolina got 31 points from Phil Ford and forced 21 Brigham Young turnovers Wednesday night to earn a 94-81 victory in the first round of the Rainbow Classic basketball tournament in Honolulu.
Texas Tech downed Rhode Island, 78-73, in overtime in the other game to move into Thursday's spot in the semi-finals against North Carolina. Stanford will meet 13th-ranked Providence in the other pairing.
Wednesday night, North Carolina took a 51-40 halftime lead that shrank to three points midway through the second half before pulling away for its eighth season victory in the nine games.
Mike O'Koren added 25 points for the winners while BYU freshman Keith Rice topped the Cougars with 31 points and also set a classic record of five steals.
North Carolina coach Dean Smith said he was surprised by Rice's outside shooting.
"We didn't have him scouted to be such a great outside shooter," he said. "He surprised us."
Brigham Young was hurt by the loss of forward Glen Roberts, who fouled out early in the second half, and by the defensive play of North Carolina guard Phil Pepper.
"The only way to stop that guy is to go down to the docks and borrow a net to throw over him," lamented BYU coach Frank Arnold.
The Texas Tech-Rhode Island game was much closer. The teams were tied at 37 at the half and at 63 at the end of regulation play. The Red Raiders took an early lead in the overtime and held it.
Mike Russell paced Texa Tech with 25 points and teammate Kent Williams had 22. Sylvester Williams led Rhode Island with 17.
The seventh-ranked Louisville Cardinals, behind 29 points by Darrell Griffith and 23 by Rick Wilson, overpowered LaSalle, 113-85, in a first-round game of the Louisville Holiday Classic.
Louisville will meet Georgia in the final. Georgia beat Ohio State, 84-80, in overtime as Lavon Mercer scored 29 points, including 16 in the second half and four in the extra period.
Ninth-ranked Nevada-Las Vegas beat Gonzaga, 91-68, in the first round of the Las Vegas Holiday Classic as Earl Evans scored 24 points and pulled down nine rebounds.In the other first-round game, Matt Maderos scored 17 points to help California-Santa Barbara top Scattle, 58-55.
In other games involving Top 20 teams, No. 15 Indiana whipped Florida, 73-60, to win the Gator Bowl tournament: No. 17 Kansas routed Missouri, 96-49, in the first-round game of the Big Eight tournament, and No. 19 San Francisco topped Austin Peay, 75-66, in the first round of the All-College tourney in Oklahoma City.
LaSalle coach Paul Westhead was impressed by Louisville.
"Louisville just exploded like out of a rocket," he said. "They jumped over the tops of people. You just try to contain them. I thought for 30 to 32 minutes, we did a good job. We just couldn't do it for 40 minutes.
"If Louisville has a weakness, they miss too many dunks." The Cardinals missed three of six dunk attempts Wednesday night.
Louisville coach Danny Crum praised Griffith, saying, "He shot the ball extremely well. He worked hard. He did a good job rebounding and playing defense. It was his best game this year."
Nevada-Las Vegas, 12-0, had no trouble posting its 70th straight homecourt victory, moving out to a 43-22 halftime lead and then coasting home. Paul Cathey scored 18 points and pulled down a tournament-record 28 rebounds for Gonzaga.
Wayne Radford scored 21 points as the Indiana Hoosiers beat Florida in a tense defensive battle for the Gator Bowl title. Indiana is now 8-1, Florida 7-2.