The No.. 14 The North Carolina men’s basketball team (2-0) defeated UNLV (0-2) (78-51) in the first round of the Maui Invitational despite a sloppy first half.
UNC struggled to get going for the first few minutes of the game. After the Tar Heels left the field 0: 8 in the first five minutes, they followed with 13: 0. UNC eventually found its way onto the scoreboard via a 3-pointer from Senior Guard Andrew Platek on top of the key. The tar heels continued to look sloppy in the first 10 minutes and had an 18: 9 deficit at the 10-minute mark with 20 percent field goalscoring and four turnovers.
A 9-0 run by the UNC aggravated the game and brought it to 18:15 in the middle of the first half. The Tar Heels finally ended in the first half after an And-1 for Garrison Brooks six minutes before the end. The Runnin Rebels sprinted out to another lead immediately afterwards and took another lead with multiple ball owners before a 3-pointer from Junior Guard Leaky Black ended the game 27 minutes ahead, leaving less than four minutes in the opening frame.
UNC took the game’s first lead in the final minutes of half-time between 29 and 27 and the offensive against Tar Heels finally began to click. A solid run in the final three minutes of halftime led North Carolina to a narrow 37-30 lead into the break.
The Tar Heels fired in the second half and quickly expanded their lead in double digits for the first time in just over two minutes during the night. A pair of freshman free throws from RJ Davis brought it to 41-30, UNC. North Carolina continued their dominance to start at halftime, taking a 50:31 lead, 15 minutes from time, to give both teams the biggest lead of the night.
Three tar heels hit double digits early in the second half, with Platek, Davis and Brooks all crossing the finish line in the opening minutes of half. The dominance of the UNC continued and eight minutes before the start of the game the Tar Heels had built a dominant lead of 65:39.
After falling into an ugly 13-0 hole early on, the Tar Heels ended the game with an uninterrupted dominance run that began towards the end of the first half. UNC ended the game with a 27-point victory of 78:51 to advance to the semifinals.
The North Carolina attack was extremely even. Four players hit double digits, but Brooks was particularly impressive. The senior finished the UNC with 14 points as the second top scorer and was a force on the boards with three offensive and four defensive rebounds.
With the great Day’Ron Sharpe in the first year just a point off the bench, Brooks led the Tar Heels efforts in the color against an overmatched and undersized UNLV page.
A series of UNC runs towards the end of the second half showed signs of the eventual North Carolina blowout win. The Tar Heels defeated the Runnin Rebels 41-21 in the second half and after seven points ahead of them in the locker room, the game never ended.
The balanced rating from UNC could be a good sign for the future, as the lack of depth and the multi-dimensional rating of tar heels were a key aspect in making a record loss for the first time in almost two decades last season.
With the first real test in North Carolina expected to be tomorrow against Alabama or Stanford, the tar heels need to show the efficiency they showed in the final 45 minutes of the game, rather than the first 15.
UNC will play again tomorrow at 4:30 pm in Asheville for the semifinals of the Maui Invitational against Alabama or Stanford. m.
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North Carolina Tar Heels Men’s Basketball, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, UNLV Runnin ‘Rebels Men’s Basketball, College Basketball, Maui Invitational Tournament, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Roy Williams
World News – USA – UNC overcomes sloppy start, beating UNLV 78-51 in first round of Maui Invitational
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