In its first game in two years, the UNC JV men's basketball team dominated Voyager Academy 76-32 on Friday afternoon in the Dean E. Smith Center.
The game got off to a quick start, with Voyager Academy winning the tip and immediately scoring after a drive to the basket.
UNC found an immediate response, with sophomore Ty’Rell McLucas sinking a three-pointer after running the ball back down the court. The teams then traded possession back and forth for the next few minutes, before the North Carolina defense settled into a consistent rhythm.
Both teams went a brief period until UNC sophomore Nyikos Fritts was able to capitalize and score off a breakaway layup. This seemed to swing the momentum fully in the Tar Heels' favor, as they began to dominate possession.
This was largely due to an aggressive, full-court press that forced multiple turnovers that UNC was able to convert into points. Five minutes into the game, North Carolina had already tripled the score of its opponents, 18-6.
This lead only grew, as the Vikings' shooting went cold. They attempted to combat this with a time-out with 12:40 left on the clock, but to no avail, as UNC came out of the break and immediately found sophomore Will Tyndall empty at the bottom of the key to put up another two points.
The rest of the period followed a similar trajectory, ultimately culminating in a score of 51-19 at halftime in favor of the Tar Heels.
Voyager Academy looked for redemption in the second half, implementing an aggressive offensive strategy that saw them immediately put two on the scoreboard. However, poor shooting accuracy and an inability to capitalize at the free throw line again caused the Vikings to fall further behind, as Voyager Academy never got within 30 points of UNC late in the game.
North Carolina, in contrast, was able to maintain a high shooting percentage from the line, and score multiple clutch layups to maintain their sizable lead throughout the second half.
UNC successfully fended off multiple attempts from Voyager Academy to close the gap, and came out of the game victorious with a final score of 76-32.
Who stood out?
Tyndall shone for the Tar Heels on both ends of the court as he clocked aggressive defensive and offensive plays. He ended the game with 12 points and no fouls and picked up multiple rebounds at the bottom of the key.
Sophomore George Hill also stood out, recording three three-pointers, and two free throws to end the game with 11 points.
When was it decided?
Although the game began on even footing, the Tar Heels were able to create a steady rhythm after about five minutes on the court, and quickly began to run away with the game. Their ability to dominate possession, and force constant turnovers, as well as UNC's consistent rebounding skills allowed the team to gain a 32-point lead at halftime.
Why does it matter?
The men's JV program has a storied history at UNC and is one of the most unique things about North Carolina basketball. Many JV walk-ons have gone on to graduate to the varsity team, and both head coach Hubert Davis and former head coach Roy Williams spent time coaching the squad before they moved up to varsity.
After a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19, the team's return was much anticipated, and the Tar Heels didn't disappoint. With North Carolina's strong showing, UNC will look to continue this forward momentum into the rest of the season.
When do they play next?
The JV Basketball team will return to the Dean E. Smith Center on Thursday, Nov. 3 to face Mount Zion Prep.
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