CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Brandon Robinson scored a career-high 20 points and Roy Williams tied his mentor on the all-time wins list as North Carolina beat Yale 70-67 on Monday night.
Williams picked up his 879th career victory as a head coach, tying Dean Smith for the fourth most in Division I men’s basketball history. Williams worked as an assistant for Smith at North Carolina for 10 seasons from 1978-88.
Justin Pierce added 14 points for the Tar Heels (8-5) in their final nonconference game of the regular season.
Garrison Brooks had 11 points and 11 rebounds for the Tar Heels, who nearly squandered a 12-point lead with six minutes remaining.
Azar Swain’s 30-foot 3-point attempt misfired at the buzzer for Yale (10-4).
North Carolina answered a 7-0 run by Yale to open the second half with a 20-4 spurt, taking a 52-39 lead with 9:27 remaining.
Robinson and Leaky Black ignited the rally with five points apiece as the Tar Heels scored on five consecutive possessions.
Swain scored 21 points to lead Yale, whose seven-game winning streak ended. Jordan Bruner had 17 points and 15 rebounds, and Paul Atkinson added 10 points.
Yale: Fresh off a 54-45 win at Clemson on Dec. 22, the Bulldogs missed their opportunity for a second consecutive road win against an Atlantic Coast Conference foe. But their prospects remain promising. Yale has experience (six upperclassmen in its top seven, including all five starters) and plays stingy defense, a combination that could help the team repeat as Ivy League champion and return to the NCAA Tournament for the second year in a row.
North Carolina: Freshman point guard Cole Anthony, the team’s leading scorer, is scheduled to miss 2-4 more weeks in his recovery from an arthroscopic procedure on his right knee. Without him, the Tar Heels are ordinary at best. But their schedule over the next month is manageable, giving them a chance to stay in postseason contention as Anthony works his way back.
Yale: The Bulldogs play at home for the first time since Dec. 1 when they take on Division III Johnson & Wales on Jan. 12.