North Carolina coach Dean Smith just wants to get back to lower ground.
The 24th-ranked Tar Heels traveled to the Mile High Tournament in Denver, and even a 106-101 victory over Colorado didn't leave Smith in high spirits in high country.``The altitude was a huge difference. It will be really nice to get home and play some games,' Smith said.
Rick Fox scored 26 points and Hubert Davis had 24 to lead North Carolina. Fox ignited two crucial runs for the Tar Heels, hitting a shot to start an 8-0 spurt that gave North Carolina (7-5) a seven-point lead with 7:50 left.
The Tar Heels held an 84-79 lead when a 3-pointer by Fox triggered a 9-0 run that included a layup by Scott Williams, two free throws by Fox and Pete Chilcutt's jumper.
Shaun Vandiver, who scored 35 points, kept the Buffaloes in the game with 19 first-half points, mostly on inside shots.
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North Carolina closed off Colorado's inside game in the second half and utilized 3-pointers by Fox and Davis to pull away.
``We shot very well, got back on defense, but we couldn't stop Vandiver. We really took care of the ball against the press defense,' Smith said.
``We are out of shape, as you can see, so we will work on that when we get home,' Smith said.
In other games involving Atlantic Coast Conference teams Saturday, Duke stopped Hawaii 87-75 at the Rainbow Classic in Honolulu, Penn State defeated Wake Forest 67-63 in the consolation game of the Fiesta Classic, and Maryland beat Alcorn State 110-91.
With Hawaii having to foul to catch up, Duke had the Rainbows right where it wanted them - looking at Blue Devil shooters hit free throws.
``Our free throw shooting has been fantastic all year,' Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. ``Down the stretch we did what we wanted to do and really didn't let them get back in it.'
Chris Gaines hit a 3-point shot to pull Hawaii to within 80-75 with 1:06 left to play. The Rainbows then repeatedly fouled Duke, which went 7-for-8 from the foul line during the closing minute.
Phil Henderson and Robert Brickey led Duke (8-2) with 19 points each, while Alaa Abdelnaby had 18 and Bobby Hurley scored 14.
Hawaii fell to 11-2.
Penn State hit three free throws in the final 30 seconds to stave off a Demon Deacon comeback.
Wake Forest came back from a 52-38 deficit with 10:32 left, using a 21-8 run fueled by Chris King and Antonio Johnson to pull within 60-59 with 1:35 left on Robert Siler's bank shot.
Ed Fogell, who scored a game-high 18 points, hit two free throws to give the Lions a 62-59 lead with 1:13 left.
Wake Forest's Anthony Tucker hit two jumpers to cut the lead to 64-63 with 32 seconds left. But he fouled out, and James Barnes hit two free throws. Former Greensboro Dudley standout Freddie Barnes then sealed the victory with another foul shot with five seconds left.
King led Wake Forest (6-3) with 17 points, but the Deacons set a tournament record with 25 turnovers.
In College Park, Tony Massenberg led Maryland with 20 points and seven Terrapins scored in double figures as the Terrapins (8-3) won their fourth straight game.
Jerrod Mustaf scored 12 of his 14 in the first half, helping Maryland overcome a slow start. The Terrapins didn't score for the first two minutes of the game - but Alcorn State (0-8) had even more trouble, cutting the lead to 11-2 at the 15:07 mark. Alcorn State couldn't come closer than seven points the rest of the way.
Maryland forced 17 Alcorn turnovers in the first half, on its way to a 59-36 halftime lead. The Terps led by as many as 29 points in the second half.
Maryland freshman Evers Burns had a season-high 17 points.
Georgia Tech opens the 1990 portion of the ACC schedule against Marist on Tuesday. On Wednesday, Clemson is at N.C. State in the lone ACC game. The Citadel is at Duke and Old Dominion is at North Carolina.