UNC got the 77-61 win against Gardner Webb Friday night at the Dean Dome, but it wasn’t the outcome of the game that concerned head coach Roy Williams. The Bulldogs ran with the Tar Heels for all of the first half and through half of the 2nd – trailing the 6th ranked team by just 4 with a little over 10 minutes left – before UNC closed the door on any upset hopes with a 18-6 run to close the game.
From the start, Gardner Webb showed they weren’t backing down from their in-state powerhouse, but the Tar Heels weren’t built to compete with teams of this caliber. They’re built to make the Final Four.
“This is not a cut towards Gardner Webb, but do you think this summer I was thinking “I hope we win this game.” We’re trying to be the best team we can be,” Roy Williams said after the game. “We’re more gifted. We’re taller and it’s a one or two possession game. None of you guys had to think it was a very pretty game and I don’t either. Do I believe we’re getting better? Yes. Am I ticked off right now? Yes. Am I probably Scrooge this close to Christmas? Yes. But we’ve got to play better. That’s the bottom line.”
Freshman phenom, Cole Anthony, led all scorers with 28 points on 7-17 shooting. Armando Bacot was the only other Tar Heel to score in double digits – contributing 12 and snatching 11 rebounds.
The season is still in its infancy and the Tar Heels aren’t the only squad with National Championship expectations that has been challenged by what some would call a lessor opponent, but at some point the questions that linger about scoring and effort will have to be answered.
“It’s early in the season, but at some point it’s no longer going to be early in the season,” Cole Anthony said after the win. “So we’re just going to have to get back in the lab, get back to practice and continue to work.”
UNC will be back on the hardwood November 20th to face Elon.
• Carolina had a 13-0 advantage in fastbreak points in the second half.
• The Tar Heels shot 41.4 percent from the floor in the first half and 50.0 percent in the second.
• Carolina has shot 46.7, 37.5 and 45.6 percent from the floor in the first three games – it’s the first time since 2012-13 UNC has not shot 50 percent from the floor in the first three games.
• Carolina out-rebounded the Bulldogs, 44-23, and out-scored them, 14-5 on second-chance points.
• UNC is now 206-16 all-time in the Smith Center against non-ACC opponents.
• UNC is now 171-18 all-time against in-state, non-ACC opponents.
• Anthony led UNC in scoring for the third time in as many games, this time with a game-high 28.
• Anthony is the first Tar Heel freshman to ever score at least 20 points in his first three games.
• Anthony has scored 82 points in the first three games. The previous high for a freshman in his first three games was 63 by Rashad McCants in 2002-03 (28, 18 and 17).
• Armando Bacot had his first collegiate double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds. Both are season highs.