CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) -- North Carolina's season-opening losing streak seemed to be bothering others more than it was the Tar Heels.
On Sunday night, Jason Capel was practically giggling before the opening tip against Georgia Tech and coach Matt Doherty talked about how loose his team was. Kris Lang was laughing with a teammate even when the Tar Heels were trailing.
And everything was all right after the game, too, because North Carolina got a career-high 21 points from reserve guard Brian Morrison and clutch play from three freshmen down the stretch for an 83-77 victory.
With the win, North Carolina avoided the worst start in its 92-year history and ended a four-game home losing streak. The Tar Heels started the season 0-3 for the first time since 1928.
"It has been very positive, very upbeat," Doherty said. "I give a lot of credit to Kris and Jason. As a coach, when you walk out of a locker room, you need your better players, your upperclassmen, to echo your sentiments.
In games involving ranked teams Sunday, it was: No. 1 Duke 96, Clemson 80; No. 5 Maryland 61, Princeton 53; No. 6 Florida 81, Tulane 65; No. 12 Syracuse 91, Albany, N.Y. 65; and Vanderbilt 80, No. 17 Western Kentucky 75.
North Carolina's first win came with freshmen Jawad Williams, Melvin Scott and Jackie Manuel on the court down the stretch.
Georgia Tech (3-4) went on a 10-3 run for a 75-69 lead in the Atlantic Coast Conference opener for both teams. Capel hit a 3-pointer -- his first after 10 straight misses -- and Scott banked in a 3 from the wing to tie it at 75 with 3:20 left.
Manuel hit two free throws to put North Carolina up, then Halston Lane tied it with 1:13 left.
Lang, Scott and Manuel each made a free throw to put North Carolina up 81-77. Scott, who finished with 10 points, sealed it with a steal and three-point play with 5 seconds left.
"I thought about making some subs, but we hung with them and they made some huge plays," Doherty said. "They grew up again."
Tony Akins had 22 points on 4-for-9 shooting from 3-point range and had 10 assists for Georgia Tech.
The Yellow Jackets shot 54 percent in the second half, but missed four of five shots down the stretch and scored two points over the final 4:54.
"We had good looks," Georgia Tech coach Paul Hewitt said. "Maybe there was one shot we could have been more aggressive on ... but I thought our guys made aggressive plays down the stretch. The shots just didn't fall."
Morrison, who had scored in double figures just twice before in his career, hit three 3-pointers in a 2:11 span, the last of which pulled North Carolina to 66-65 with 8:30 left.
Morrison was 6-of-8 from 3-point range and 7-for-12 overall.
"Certainly Brian Morrison gave them a huge lift tonight," Hewitt said. "He showed a lot of courage -- stepping up and taking, and making, some big shots."
Capel, who shot 28 percent over the first three games, was 6-of-12 from the field and ended a 2-for-22 slump from 3-point range by going 1-of-4. He also had nine rebounds, five assists and four steals.
Lang, who had a career-high 27 points against Indiana on Wednesday, finished with 13 points, 13 rebounds and three steals.
North Carolina, which entered the game shooting 35 percent, was 27-of-53 overall and shot 57 percent in the second half. The Tar Heels shot 23 percent from 3-point range in the first three games, but were 11-of-22 against Georgia Tech.
No. 1 Duke 96, Clemson 80
Carlos Boozer had 23 points, Jason Williams added 19 and Mike Dunleavy scored 15 as the Blue Devils (6-0) extended the nation's longest winning streak to 16 games in the Atlantic Coast Conference opener for both teams.
Chris Hobbs had 25 points for the Tigers (5-2), who have lost 24 of their last 25 ACC road games and have dropped 12 straight to Duke.
Chris Hobbs had a season-high 25 points to lead the Tigers (5-2), who have lost 24 of their last 25 ACC road games.
Clemson missed 11 of its first 12 shots in the second half and turned the ball over six times as Duke turned a six-point halftime lead into a 65-48 advantage with 12:52 to play.
No. 5 Maryland 61, Princeton 53
Lonny Baxter had 19 points and 12 rebounds as the Terrapins (5-1) rallied from a 12-point deficit to win in the first round of the BB&T Classic at the MCI Center.
Juan Dixon added 14 points for Maryland, which won its fifth straight and will play Connecticut in Monday night's championship game.
Andre Logan had 15 points for Princeton (1-4), which led 42-30 with 13:35 left in the second half, but Maryland went on a 14-2 run to tie the game. Drew Nicholas' 3-pointer with 4:43 remaining gave the Terrapins their first lead of the game, 53-51, and they never lost it.
No. 6 Florida 81, Tulane 65
Matt Bonner had 16 points and eight rebounds for the Gators (4-1), while Udonis Haslem, plagued by foul trouble in the first half, scored all 13 of his points in the second.
Marcus Kinzer had 13 points for visiting Tulane (4-1), which was off to its first 4-0 start since 1991.
Haslem scored nine straight points at the start of the second half to extend the Gators' lead to 17.
No. 12 Syracuse 91, Albany, N.Y., 65
Preston Shumpert hit eight 3-pointers and scored a career-high 37 points to lead the Orangemen (8-0), whose only deficit of the game was 2-0 after the Great Danes won the tip and Earv Opong hit a jumper. The visiting Orangemen went on an 18-0 run that lasted almost seven minutes to take a 24-4 lead.
E.J. Gallup, who entered the game among the nation's leaders with a 25.3 average, finished with 14 on 5-of-25 shooting for Albany (0-5).
Vanderbilt 80, No. 17 W. Kentucky 75
Brendan Plavich scored 13 points to lead five Vanderbilt players in double figures as the Commodores (4-2) won their third straight overall and 10th straight in this series.
The Hilltoppers (4-2) played for the first time without 7-foot-1 center Chris Marcus, who will miss 4-to-6 weeks with a stress fracture in his left ankle.
Vanderbilt played the game four miles from its home court, but didn't have any trouble playing at the Gaylord Entertainment Center despite a crowd nearly evenly split.
David Boyden had 17 points for Western Kentucky, which got within 76-75 with 53 seconds left, but Vanderbilt went 4-for-4 from the line over the final 23 seconds.
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