comscore North Carolina tops Wisconsin for Maui Invitational title | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
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North Carolina tops Wisconsin for Maui Invitational title

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    North Carolina forward Kennedy Meeks guarded Wisconsin forward Ethan Happ in the first half.

LAHAINA >> Behind a lockdown defensive effort, No. 4 North Carolina pulled away from No. 16 Wisconsin to win 71-56 and claim the 2016 Maui Jim Maui Invitational tonight.

A packed, split-allegiance crowd at the 2,400-seat Lahaina Civic Center witnessed UNC (7-0) claim its fourth Maui championship and first since 2008. The Heels are second to only Atlantic Coast Conference archrival Duke (five) in titles on the Valley Isle.

Point guard Joel Berry II and center Kennedy Meeks spearheaded the effort.

Berry scored 22 points on 9-for-12 shooting en route to tournament MVP honors. Meeks had a double-double by halftime and finished with 15 points and 16 rebounds, leading a 38-26 advantage in boards.

Wisconsin (4-2) scored just 20 points in the first half, but trailed by only nine at halftime. The Badgers were held to 38.2 percent shooting and gave up a pivotal 12-1 run early in the second half. Second place was Wisconsin’s best Maui finish in three all-time appearances.

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