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UNC 101, Saint Francis 76: Nassir Little’s coming out party

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It was good, it was bad, it was baffling. But it was a win.

St Francis v North Carolina Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

We’ve all known that Nassir Little is likely to be a star even as a freshman for UNC basketball this season. The future NBA first round pick has been showing off the immense talent he possesses since before he even arrived in Chapel Hill. That talent was on full display in UNC’s win over Saint Francis on Monday night.

The Tar Heels turned in a sloppy game of basketball with 18 turnovers. Roy Williams kept his team in the locker room until just over a minute was left before the second half, likely voicing his displeasure with the effort and execution in the first half. UNC was called for foul after foul, particularly in the first half, and the free throw disparity at halftime was pretty drastic. Things evened up in the second half with both teams finishing the game with 27 attempts from the charity stripe.

Carolina shot 52% from the field for the game and 40% from distance. They made 10 three-pointers but shot a somewhat alarming 25 shots from distance. They held Saint Francis to 34% from the field, but the Red Flash cut UNC’s lead down to as few as six points after the Heels got off to a tremendously sloppy start in the second half.

Little finished the game just one point behind Cameron Johnson in scoring with 19 points and seven rebounds in just 16 minutes on the court. He hustled after loose balls, found his teammates when necessary, and showed off some superior skills in the alley-oop department that made his teammates look pretty great in the assist department.

Speaking of assists, Kenny Williams had a career-high in the statistic before halftime. He finished with a team-high nine for the game, making up for his lackluster scoring. The basketball just hasn’t been falling for Williams so far this year, but he’s doing absolutely everything else you could want out of a senior leader.

Luke Maye finished with a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Coby White (16) and Brandon Robinson (11) joined Johnson, Little, and Maye in double figures. Seventh Woods finished the game with seven assists, picking up where he has left off all season to this point.

It wasn’t pretty, but it was a decisive win in the end. The test gets harder from here for the Tar Heels, starting on Thanksgiving against Texas. They’ll be back in action Thursday at 7:30 pm.