The first half of this game was not a pretty one for either team, but especially for UNC. The Tar Heels shot just 31% and found themselves down by one to Notre Dame going into halftime. They had committed eight turnovers, which was more than even the number of two-pointers Carolina had made in the first 20 minutes.
The team as a whole turned things around in the second half, but one particular who led the way and rewrote the record book in the process.
Cole Anthony was everything as advertised and more in his college debut. He led the Tar Heels in points and rebounds, while tying for the team lead in assists. In total, he scored 34 points, on 12-24 shooting, while grabbing 11 rebounds, dishing five assists, and also picking up one steal. In doing so, he set the UNC record for most points by a freshman making their Tar Heel debut, surpassing a player who will not be mentioned.
Anthony was the best player for Carolina in the disappointing first half. He scored 11 of the 30 points the Heels put up in the first. However, the second half was when things really got nuts.
After Notre Dame took their lead out to five points early in the second, Anthony took over. Over the next 10 minutes, UNC went on a 29-13 run, after which the Irish only got the margin under 10 points once. During that stretch, the freshman scored 15 of the Heels’ point, while getting assists on plays that led to five other points. He was excellent.
There’s really no one else who came under serious consideration for player of the game, but Andrew Platek and Garrison Brooks also had solid games. Platek scored eight points after going 3-4 and knocking down two threes. His +15 was the second best for any Tar Heel in terms of plus/minus. As for Brooks, he shook off a less than stellar first half to finish with 10 points and nine rebounds. Arguably more importantly, on the other end of the floor, he helped hold preseason all-ACC first team pick John Mooney to 10 points on 5-13 shooting.
He’s probably not going to be out there setting records every game, but if his first game was any sign of things to come, Cole Anthony is going to be very fun to watch this season.