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UNC 104, Chaminade 61: Tar Heels win opener in Maui

It wasn’t all pretty, but Carolina cruised to a win over Chaminade.

NCAA Basketball: Maui Invitational-North Carolina at Chaminade Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

There was only ever going to be so much that could be taken away from UNC’s opener in the Maui Invitational. Carolina was matched up with Division II Chaminade in their first game. Their goal was always going to be to blow them out as quickly as they possibly could. They did blow them out, but it probably took a bit longer than the Tar Heels would have liked.

Thanks mostly to nine turnovers, UNC led Chaminade by just nine with around five minutes to go in the first half. The Heels then scored 10 of the next 13 points to close the half, and quickly stretched the lead over 20 to start the second. The game was never truly in doubt, and UNC eventually pulled away and won 104-61.

The aforementioned turnovers were the main reason Chaminade kept it as close as they did for the majority of the first half. When UNC wasn’t turning it over, they were generally able to do what they wanted on offense, especially down low.

Carolina’s frontcourt was unsurprisingly dominant against a DII team. Isaiah Hicks led UNC in scoring with 22 points, and grabbed six rebounds. Kennedy Meeks put up a double double, going for 20 and 10, with his only missed shots coming from the free throw line. Tony Bradley put up 14 and eight in just 18 minutes.

Joel Berry had his second straight subpar game in Hawaii, going for just eight points. Justin Jackson started a bit slow, but finished with 12 points. Nate Britt chipped in with eight.

Kenny Williams got the start, and was one of the chief offenders on the turnover front, leading the team with three. However, he did play well on the defensive end, and closed out the first half with this block.

In general, the defense mirrored the offense. It was a bit sloppy in the first half. Chaminade knocked down a couple threes early, which allowed them to keep it as close as they did. As soon as UNC got going defensively, they were able to turn that into offense and pull away.

Winning by around 40 against Chaminade is probably about par for the course. The Silverswords may be a fine Division II team, but they’re still a Division II team. Tomorrow, the Tar Heels will face their toughest test of the young season against Oklahoma State. If they play like they did early on in this one, they’re going to have some trouble.