On opening night of the 2021-2022 season, the No. 19 North Carolina men's basketball team (1-0, 0-0) routed the Loyola Maryland Greyhounds (0-1, 0-0), 83-67.
The Tar Heels got out to an early 6-0 lead with three-pointers from graduate forward Brady Manek and sophomore guard Caleb Love, forcing Loyola Maryland to call an early timeout less than two minutes in. After the timeout, UNC got out to a 15-3 run, stretching the lead to 18-3 with over 15 minutes left in the half.
The Greyhounds hung around through the middle of the half, but still trailed 30-17 with 7:50 remaining after the Tar Heels kept their foot on the pedal offensively. The margin remained relatively steady for the remainder of the half and UNC headed into the locker room up 45-31 after an up-and-down opening performance.
After the half, the Greyhounds came out hot, outscoring the Tar Heels 8-4 in the first five minutes to cut the UNC lead to 10, 49-39. UNC responded loudly after seeing its lead drop to its smallest margin since early in the first half, going on a 23-12 run to expand the lead back to 21 heading into the second TV timeout.
The Tar Heels were able to maintain their lead late, but some substitutions and foul trouble allowed the Greyhounds to shrink the deficit slightly. Loyola put up a hard fight to the end, but UNC was able to leave the Smith Center with an 83-67 victory after giving their starters an early breather with a little over two minutes left on the clock. The Tar Heels failed to get to the 100-point biscuit mark on Hubert Davis’ first night as head coach, but still left fans and students happy with a hard-fought win.
Who stood out?
Love led the Tar Heels in points, shooting 7-13 from the field while finishing with 22 points, two rebounds and two assists. Manek also had a nice night in his regular season debut in Chapel Hill, scoring 20 points to go along with 5 boards.
Senior guard Jaylin Andrews led the Greyhounds in scoring with 17 points. Andrews also finished with three rebounds and a steal.
When was it decided?
After hopping out to an early 6-0 lead to start the game with three-pointers from Manek and Love, UNC didn’t look back. The Greyhounds trimmed the lead to 10 early in the second half, but the Tar Heels stepped up late, outscoring Loyola, 36-30, after the scare.
Why does it matter?
The Tar Heels were able to kickoff Davis’ head coaching career with a bang and gain their footing against a weaker opponent on Tuesday night. The win can serve as a confidence booster for a young team looking to find its footing under a first-year coach with a tough schedule ahead. After an early exit in last season's NCAA Tournament, the win serves as a fresh start for North Carolina.
When do they play next?
The Tar Heels will be back in action Friday night in Chapel Hill as they take on Brown University. Tip-off is scheduled for 9 p.m.
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