Heels stomp Gamecocks

North Carolina and South Carolina may be border rivals, but their basketball programs are miles apart.

Harrison Barnes scored 21 points as No. 1 North Carolina downed South Carolina 87-62 in a sloppy semifinal game at the Las Vegas Invitational on Friday.

Freshman P.J. Hairston finished with 19 points and John Henson added 18, while Kendall Marshall handed out 13 assists for the Tar Heels (5-0), who will meet UNLV in Saturday’s championship game.

North Carolina led by as many as 17 points midway through the first half as the Gamecocks (2-3) committed five turnovers before they had scored their first basket.

When Brian Richardson lost the ball out of bounds with 6:12 left in the first half, the Gamecocks had already committed a season-high 17 turnovers, which led to 18 first-half points for North Carolina.

The Gamecocks finished with 25 turnovers.

South Carolina never seriously threatened its border rival, but kept the game from getting out of hand by warming up from the 3-point line and outrebounding the bigger Tar Heels, who did not help themselves by missing a number of point-blank opportunities and shooting 58.6 percent from the foul line.

Sophomore forward R.J. Slawson posted his first career double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds for the Gamecocks.

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