Rapid Reaction: UNC 97, Appalachian St. 82

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- A quick look at No. 5/6 North Carolina’s 97-82 victory over Appalachian State on Saturday:

What it means: UNC senior forward Tyler Zeller, after an inconsistent start to his season, might finally be back on track. The senior 7-footer scored 31 points – one off his career high – and pulled down 10 rebounds to push UNC to victory.

How it happened: The Tar Heels took an early 13-2 lead (on 7 points from Zeller) before Mountaineers senior guard Omar Carter, who had started the previous nine games, came off the bench. Carter immediately scored on a jumper, and led a surge that cut UNC’s advantage to 34-30 (on a Carter 3-pointer) with 4:32 left in the first half. But the Tar Heels reeled off a 12-0 run before Carter (and App State) scored again. In all, UNC completed the half with a 14-2 run (the final bucket by Zeller) to take a 48-32 lead into the break.

UNC continued to pull away after that in the second half. It shot 54.5 percent, out-rebounded ASU by seven and won the scoring battle in the paint, 54-34.

John Henson chipped in 17 points for the Tar Heels; point guard Kendall Marshall had 13 assists and 2 turnovers. Carter led the Mountaineers with 21 points.

Numbers to know: The last time the Tar Heels played Appalachian State was in November 2000. Jason Capel – now head coach of the Mountaineers -- had 10 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists for UNC in that game.

(Another) number to know: UNC forward Harrison Barnes had scored in double figures 24 consecutive games before Saturday – which he finished with 9 points.

Hubbub: UNC coach Roy Williams was sporting a new, blue-and-black plaid coat for the occasion. It garnered mixed reviews from the folks on Twitter, but it did blend in with the Tar Heels’ color scheme better than the green jacket he donned during the Las Vegas Invitational.

What’s next: This marked the first contest in a three-games-in-five-days stretch for the Tar Heels, who will play Nicholls State at the Smith Center on Monday night. The Mountaineers will face Campbell at home on Thursday.