When North Carolina played its best stretches of basketball in Friday’s exhibition against Shaw, one player was on the court almost the every time. And it wasn’t one of the usual suspects.
Freshman forward Brice Johnson, in his first collegiate game, played limited minutes. But they were some of the most important minutes of the Tar Heels’ 81-54 win.
Johnson finished the game with eight points, six rebounds, a block, an assist and a steal in just 13 minutes of playing time. But his impact went beyond the stat sheet — with Johnson on the court, UNC outscored Shaw by 34 points, 42-8.
Friday’s game provided a look at how old and new players alike will fit in this year.
James Michael McAdoo scored 16 points and provided eight rebounds.
Desmond Hubert, expected to step up inside for UNC, made just one field goal.
Freshman Joel James picked up the slack, though, with 13 points.
UNC’s 3-point shooting woes continued Friday. The Tar Heels made just three of 16 shots from behind the arc.
And Johnson helped North Carolina go on two key runs — an 11-0 run in the first half, and a 27-3 run in the second half.
When Johnson entered the game in the first half, the No. 11 Tar Heels trailed Shaw 13-10. With Johnson in, they scored 11 straight points to go up 21-13.