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The Daily Tar Heel

No. 1 UNC men's basketball opens season with 101-40 exhibition win over Johnson C. Smith


UNC freshman guard Seth Trimble (0) defends the ball during the basketball game against JCSU on Friday, Oct. 8, 2022. UNC beat JCSU 101-40.

The No. 1 North Carolina men's basketball kicked off the 2022-23 season on Friday with a 101-40 exhibition win over Johnson C. Smith.

What happened?

Sophomore guard D’Marco Dunn put the first point on the board for the Tar Heels with a successful free throw. UNC had the first three points, but a 3-pointer by JCSU tied things up. From there, North Carolina went on a scoring rampage, putting up the next 15 points for an 18-3 lead. 

The Golden Bulls gained momentum, closing the gap to nine and maintaining tough defense, but senior big man Armando Bacot’s rebound success and a four 3-pointers by junior guard Caleb Love in the first half resulted in a 53-29 UNC lead at halftime.

Although JCSU had the first points of the second half, the Tar Heels quickly went on a nine-point streak. A 93-36 lead showed their offensive performance, but the team also struggled with turnovers, posting 10 by the time of their 57-point lead.

Graduate wing Leaky Black showed out in his final exhibition game at North Carolina, with an alley-oop on a long-pass by Love. UNC continued to dominate offensively, making their nine-point streak seem insignificant when they went on a 23-point streak.

Walk-on seniors Jackson Watkins and Duwe Farris came in as the clock ticked down and led the team to 100 points and subsequently, free Bojangles biscuits.

Who stood out? 

First-years Seth Trimble and Tyler Nickel and redshirt first-year Will Shaver made their Tar Heel debuts in the matchup, as did highly-anticipated transfer Pete Nance, who scored 19 points in the win. 

Bacot thrived in the exhibition, particularly in rebounds, with which he led the team with 20. Love demonstrated the 3-point ability that he was so well known for last postseason, posting seven. He also led the team in scoring with 20 points.

When was it decided?

When North Carolina held a 24-point lead at the end of the first half, its dominance was evident. 

The Tar Heels didn’t slow down in the second half, leading by 44 points with 10 minutes left to play. UNC eventually led by 61 points, making it clearer than ever that the game was decided.

Why does it matter?

Coming off of a national championship loss, North Carolina is the top-ranked team in the country heading into the new season. This matchup provided the team the opportunity to warm up for the high-stakes season and to highlight new talent. 

UNC can utilize the next week and a half to reflect on their performance in the exhibition before attempting to prove their worth as the No. 1 team when the regular season begins.

When do they play next?

The Tar Heels’ regular season will begin with a home matchup against UNCW on Nov. 7. 


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