Hurricane Kadji dominates Tar Heels

It wouldn’t be difficult to name a most valuable player from Miami’s 68-59 win against the North Carolina men’s basketball team Thursday night.

Hands down, Kenny Kadji was the best player on the floor.

He dropped in a game-high 18 points. He pulled in nine rebounds. He swatted four shots and he even dished out three assists.

“Kenny is the recipient of a lot of good ball movement,” Miami coach Jim Larranaga said. “When he gets in rhythm, he shoots the ball as well as any big man I’ve ever coached.

“When the middle opens up because of Shane Larkin and Durand Scott being guarded so hard on the perimeter, every once in a while he’ll get a running layup — he had two of those tonight. … He played big, big, big tonight, and the blocked shots were huge.”

Kadji created mismatches everywhere he went Thursday night in the Smith Center. The Hurricane forward is listed at 6-feet-11 and weighs 242 pounds, but he was just as dangerous on the inside as he was on the outside.

Kadji knocked down two 3-pointers, one in each half, to finish the game two-of-five from beyond the arc.

“There were a lot of NBA guys there tonight, and they weren’t just looking at the guys in Carolina Blue,” coach Roy Williams said. “He’s six-11, 242. Two-for-five from the 3-point line, 18 points, nine rebounds, four blocked shots. That’s a good basketball player.”

Kadji’s size and strength proved to be too much for the Tar Heels down the stretch, as evidenced by his two game-sealing blocks in the final 90 seconds. UNC didn’t have a body big enough or strong enough to get through or around him.

Freshman Brice Johnson gave it his best effort and came away with 10 points on the night — including an emphatic dunk that cut the Miami lead down to one point before the media timeout with less than 12 minutes left in the game.

Johnson managed to slow down Kadji on one or two occasions, but like the big man did against all the other Tar Heels, Kadji found a way to produce.

Contact the desk editor at sports@dailytarheel.com.

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