CHAPEL HILL, NC – It’s more like that for North Carolina. The top-ranked Tar Heels came to life and overpowered the College of Charleston 102-86 Friday night at the Smith Center, with Caleb Love and Armando Bacot fueling an inspired second half.
Love had 25 points, nine rebounds and six assists. Bacot provided 28 points, the preseason All-American waking up in monstrous fashion after nearly not scoring in the first half as UNC overcame a seven-point halftime deficit .
Leaky Black added 15 points and the Tar Heels (2-0) dodged an outbid by the Colonial Athletic Association Cougars (1-1). RJ Davis fed the cutting Black, who took off for a dunk that put UNC ahead 90-79 with about three minutes left.
Charleston held on to its last lead at 68-67 with 12 minutes left. UNC had 59 points in the second half and hit 71.4% of their shots from the field. The Tar Heels went straight to Bacot late in the break and he powered up a double team to sink his first bucket of the night and score an energetic start to the second half. Overall after halftime, UNC shot 19 of 21 (90%) on two-point attempts.
Dalton Bolon scored 16 points and Ante Brzovic added 15 points for College of Charleston in an 85-78 victory over Chattanooga earlier in the week to open the season.
Is North Carolina giving up the top spot in the AP Top 25 poll next week after two less than stellar efforts against average-sized opponents to start the new college basketball season?
Despite all the grinding required in UNC’s 69-56 loss to UNCW to open the season on Monday night, the Tar Heels had an 11-half lead of that game.
When College of Charleston’s Jaylon Scott dribbled past the final seconds of the first half on Friday night and set up Brzovic for an open 3-point look which he drilled, the Tar Heels led 50-43 at halftime. .
Charleston was shooting better than 52 percent from the field and rebounding UNC at intermission. Bolon had 14 points and Brzovic had 12 points off the bench. Meanwhile, Black (10 points) was North Carolina’s only double-digit scorer at halftime and Bacot had a point.
Leaky Black’s Great First Half
With the slow-starting Bacot sitting on a stat line that included a run and 0-for-1 from the field at halftime, North Carolina had to rely on other sources in the first half. Friday night.
RJ Davis and Love combined for 17 first-half points, and Black had 10 first-half points on a series of confident moves. Defensive specialist Black, who hit four double-digit goals in 38 games last season, knocked down a pair of open 3-pointers on his way to a 4-for-4 shot from the field. He stopped for a jumper off the dribble to get to 10 points.
Puff Johnson again
UNC forward Puff Johnson (sore right knee) was out of uniform Friday night. He did not participate in the season opener against UNCW, just as he was out of uniform on October 28 for the Tar Heels exhibition in front of Johnson C. Smith.
The oft-injured Johnson, who had 11 points and six rebounds off the bench in the NCAA Championship Game, missed the first 15 games of last season with a hip flexor and sprained ankle. the right ankle. As a freshman, he was out for the final 15 games of the 2020-21 season after spraining the big toe on his right foot.
Next on the calendar
North Carolina meets Gardner-Webb Tuesday night at the Smith Center, Game 3 of the new season for the Tar Heels.
Gardner-Webb (0-2), under coach Tim Craft, lost to Colorado State 65-63 and Stephen F. Austin 86-71 to start the season. The Runnin’ Bulldogs were picked fourth in the Big South Conference’s expected finishing order during the preseason, behind Longwood, Winthrop and UNC Asheville.
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