Tar Heels stave off pesky Iona

Kenny Williams and North Carolina upended Iona 88-73 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament Friday night. (Getty Images)

It didn't come easy for the Tar Heels in the first round of the 2019 NCAA Tournament.

After trailing at the half to Iona, North Carolina was able to pull away in the second half, advancing to the second round with a 88-73 win over the Gaels.

They advance to face Washington on Sunday.

Virginia's loss in the first round last year was the first time a No. 1 seed lost in the first round in NCAA Tournament history. All four top seeds this year have advanced, including Virginia.

Ricky McGill finished with 26 points to lead UNC while Asante Gist scored 17 points to pace Iona.

The Tar Heels outrewbounded Iona 52-26 and there were 14 lead changes.

This article was reported on from Charlotte.