Still feeling down following consecutive road losses to Indiana and Louisville, North Carolina struggled in the first half before pulling away from winless Howard.

Brendan Haywood had a season-high 21 points and 10 rebounds, and Kris Lang started for the first time since last season's NCAA tournament in the 13th-ranked Tar Heels' 86-53 win over the Bison yesterday in Chapel Hill, N.C.

The Tar Heels (9-4), who led 39-30 at halftime, opened the second half with a 25-3 run. Ed Cota assisted on five of the Tar Heels' first seven baskets of the half and finished with 12 assists and five points.

Joseph Forte added 14 points for North Carolina. Lang, who chipped in 10 points, started all but two games last season as a freshman. But he was nagged by injuries and kept from the starting lineup until yesterday's game.

Reggie Morris scored 17 points and Aquil Bayyan 10 for Howard (0-9).

North Carolina led 70-35 before pulling its starters with eight minutes to play.

Howard connected on just 12 of its first 28 shots, but made 5 of 11 three-point tries in the first half to stay within single figures. Each of the Bison's first four baskets came from well beyond the arc, and they led 9-6 early on.

Ahead just 19-18 after a layup by Howard's Ron Williamson with 8 minutes 42 seconds left in the first half, North Carolina took control with a 15-2 run over the next 4:33.

Cota moved in front of Clemson's Grayson Marshall for third place in the ACC career assists list with 867.

VIRGINIA 89, DARTMOUTH 50: Chris Williams scored 24 points and the Cavaliers made 19 points off turnovers at home. Williams hit 11 of 15 shots and Keith Friel added 14 points on 5-for-6 shooting for the Cavaliers (9-3). Willie Dersch added 12 points and Donald Hand had 11 points and five assists.

The Cavaliers shot 65 percent in the first half to lead by 14. Dartmouth (4-7) shot only 27 percent after intermission, making 9 of 33 shots. Shaun Gee, the only Dartmouth player to reach double figures, scored 16 points.