Fresh off a victory over No. 2 Maryland, the No. 9 North Carolina men's basketball team remained in top form in its 98-65 victory over the Davidson Wildcats on Sunday night at the Smith Center.
UNC (7-1) led 47-24 at halftime and stifled Davidson (5-1) on the defensive end in the first half. The Wildcats shot just 3-for-16 from beyond the arc and 8-for-34 from the field in the first half. The Tar Heels shot 50 percent from the field and hit five 3-pointers. Junior guard Nate Britt led the charge for UNC — scoring a team-high 13 points in the first half.
Senior forward Brice Johnson and junior forward Kennedy Meeks used their height advantage in the opening minutes. Johnson was UNC’s second-leading scorer in the first half with 11 points. Meeks only had two points in the first half, but grabbed eight rebounds. As a team, UNC outrebounded Davidson 29-15 and scored nine points off turnovers in the first 20 minutes.
In the second half, the Wildcats improved their shooting to 45.5 percent, but the Tar Heels maintained their strong perimeter defense by holding Davidson to just 33.3 percent from long range in the final 20 minutes.
Underneath the rim, UNC bullied Davidson the entire game — the Tar Heels had 54 points in the paint, while the Wildcats had only 24. UNC was the first team this season to hold the Wildcats to less than 70 points — entering Sunday’s contest, the Wildcats were averaging 88.2 points per game.
“I think we did a decent job — C, C-plus — something like that. I think we can definitely do a lot better at our rotations, but we have a lot of intensity. So I think sometimes when you mess up, if you are intense and just swarming to the ball, you can kind of make up for those mistakes.” — Sophomore forward Justin Jackson on UNC’s perimeter defense.
Against UNC-Charlotte on Tuesday, Davidson’s Jack Gibbs scored 41 points and was 6-for-7 from beyond the arc. But against the Tar Heels, Gibbs went 7-for-20 from the field and 3-for-11 from long range.
Three numbers that matter
23.5: After allowing Maryland to shoot 56 percent in the first half on Tuesday, the Tar Heels held Davidson to just a 23.5 shooting percentage and eight field goals in the first half.
16: With the blowout win, Coach Roy Williams was able to play all 16 of his players in Sunday’s game. Twelve different Tar Heels scored.
82.4: UNC shot 82.4 percent from the free-throw line, making 14 of its 17 attempts. Entering the game, the Tar Heels were shooting only 68.9 percent from the charity stripe.
UNC will go on the road and play against Texas at 5:15 p.m. on Saturday.
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