After the game, the Tar Heels head coach was treated to a video montage complete with well wishes from former players, coaches and teachers. He then thanked the fans that hung around to see him presented with a ceremonial cake and a glass-encased Carolina jersey with the uniform number 500.
“It was hard to watch the video,” said Williams, who reached the milestone in his 19th season, faster than any other Division I coach. “That was special to have Paul Pierce, Nick Collison, Rashad McCants, Marvin Williams and those guys up there on the video.
“I have been extremely lucky to have the kind of players that I have had, and the character they have had is extremely important to me.”
Williams is 82-24 in his fourth season in Chapel Hill and went 418-101 in 15 years with the Jayhawks.
“After his first year, everyone thought he was OK,” said Williams’ AD Bob Frederick while at Kansas, who was on hand for the celebration. “But after we went 30-5 his second year, someone who had been very critical of my hiring him told me I was a genius.”
Tyler Hansbrough led UNC (7-1) with 24 points on 9-of-11 shooting from the floor and a perfect 5-of-5 from the free throw line. Reyshawn Terry, Brandan Wright and Ty Lawson each scored 11 and Marcus Ginyard added 10 off the bench as five Tar Heels scored in double figures.
“We worked hard on not giving [Hansbrough] angles, but that’s almost impossible,” Panthers coach Bart Lundy said. “He’s got a unique style about him. We tried to take away their inside, but you can’t take away everything. I’m not sure what we did.”
Along with his usual repetoire of inside baskets and subsequent trips to the free throw line, Hansbrough nailed his first three of the season from beyond the arc.
“I was open and felt like I could shoot it,” Hansbrough said. “If I miss it, I might come out of the game; if I make it, I’ll probably stay in.”
Lawson dished off six of the Tar Heels’ 25 assists, starting again at the point with Bobby Frasor dressed but unable to play.
High Point (6-4) was led by a game-high 26 points from guard Arizona Reid. The Panthers’ guards were quick and physical forcing the Tar Heels into 10 first half turnovers, but UNC had just four miscues in the final 20 minutes.
Carolina returns to action next Saturday when it hosts UNC Asheville at 2 p.m.