After a disappointing 2022-23 campaign and an offseason of turnover, a rejuvenated UNC men’s basketball team with seven newcomers wrapped up prep for the new season in an exhibition against Saint Augustine’s, winning 117-53 Friday night at the Smith Center.
Three of those newcomers started for the Tar Heels. Transfers graduate guard Cormac Ryan, graduate guard Paxson Wojcik and junior forward Harrison Ingram joined mainstays graduate forward Armando Bacot and senior guard RJ Davis in the starting five.
Davis scored the first bucket for UNC, cutting to the basket and finishing with a smooth finger roll with an assist from Bacot. On the first Falcons possession, the Tar Heels forced a shot clock violation.
UNC started on a 10-0 run, and Davis accounted for the first eight points. He drilled a three from the right wing and then stole the ball, finishing in the open floor with a crafty reverse layup, plus a foul.
First-year guard Elliot Cadeau and first-year forward Zayden High were the first off the bench for head coach Hubert Davis at the 16:45 mark. North Carolina led 15-6 at the under-16 timeout in the first half.
Davis came out of the timeout scorching hot. He hit three triples in quick succession, bringing his point total to 17 with 14:14 on the first-half timer and increasing the UNC lead to 18. Davis started the game 6-7 from the field and 4-5 from long range. UNC never looked back.
The Tar Heels shot the lights out in the first half. Beyond Davis’ five three-pointers, Ingram and Ryan banged home two triples each in the first 20, and UNC shot 56 percent from distance for the half.
Just before the under-eight timeout, an emphatic, two-handed jam on the fast break from Ingram made the North Carolina lead 26.
Cadeau’s quickness and explosiveness were on display when he broke a defender's ankles and then finished at the rim high off the glass, plus a foul.