UNC got career-best performances from Justin Jackson and Joel Berry on their way to a season-opening victory in New Orleans. It very much looked at times like the first game of the season with a couple stretches looking very out of sorts, but the Tar Heels certainly looked like a team that is strong enough to make it back to a Final Four if they play all their games like they did tonight.
Both Jackson and Berry hit four shots from behind the arc on their way to 27 and 23 points, respectively. Isaiah Hicks was able to play considerable time without getting into early foul trouble, on top of contributing 16 points to the cause. On the boards, Kennedy Meeks collected 15 rebounds with seven of them coming on the offensive glass.
Providing a spark off the bench, Tony Bradley looked pretty good. He scored ten points and hauled in five rebounds. He did, unfortunately, commit four fouls and two turnovers in his time on the floor. Brandon Robinson’s first points of his Tar Heel career went for three points. Although Kenny Williams got the start for UNC, he wasn’t much of a factor in the game. He scored two points and had four assists which is far from a disastrous night, but he didn’t look overly sharp either.
If there is a spot to be concerned about, the Tar Heels allowed Tulane to drill 12 three-point shots in the game. That allowed the Green Wave to keep the score closer than it would have otherwise been. UNC didn’t allow Tulane to pull within single digits at any point in the second half after the score was 20-19 with under 10 minutes to go before halftime. Tulane’s early success in the game could be attributed to the fact that they were all over the boards, but Carolina cleaned it up in the second half to win the rebounding battle.
The Tar Heels now travel back to Chapel Hill for the home opener against Chattanooga on Sunday at 4:00 pm. The Mocs are no pushover, and managed to pull off a win against Tennessee in their first game of the year.