The UNI Panthers opened their season with an 86-69 setback to reigning national champion North Carolina on the road Friday night (Nov. 10, 2017).

UNI trailed 45-31 at intermission after keeping the game relatively close for much of the first half. The ninth-ranked Tar Heels pulled away in the second half, increasing their lead to as many as 31 points down the stretch.

Spencer Haldeman tallied 15 points to lead the Panthers, who upset North Carolina in Cedar Falls when the then No. 1-ranked Tar Heels visited the McLeod Center in Nov. 2015.

UNI also played at North Carolina last season. The Panthers suffered an 85-42 loss in their first game at the Dean E. Smith Center in Chapel Hill, their worst defeat under head coach Ben Jacobson.

Friday night, UNI also got double-digit scoring from Isaiah Brown and Bennett Koch. Brown tallied 13 points. Koch chipped in 11.

Luke Maye scored a career-high 24 points and pulled down nine rebounds to lead the Tar Heels, who opened their season without Final Four Most Outstanding Player Joel Berry II and Pittsburgh graduate transfer Cameron Johnson due to injuries. Freshman Garrison Brooks added 14 points for North Carolina, which shot 50 percent from the floor for the game.

UP NEXT: The Panthers host Alcorn State in their home-opener on Monday (Nov. 13). Tip-off is at 7 p.m. at the McLeod Center in Cedar Falls.

Courtesy: Grant Halverson-Getty Images