UNC Basketball

UNC Basketball Recap: Defense grinds them to first win of the season

The UNC Basketball squad defeated Wofford University 78-67 in their first game of the season behind a strong game from Luke Maye and Garrison Brooks’s career high night. Brooks finished with 20 points and 5 rebounds. Luke Maye had 24 points, 4 assists, and 7 rebounds in 34 minutes. Kenny Williams had the responsibility of guarding talented Wofford guard Fletcher Magee. Magee lead the Terriers to an upset finish last season in late December of 2017 scoring 27 points. Tonight he struggled shooting the ball, only making 7-of-23 shots.

Without Fletcher’s tough shots consistently falling, teammates were not able to get as good of looks as Carolina’s defense was stifling. Cam Johnson, Luke Maye, and Garrison Brooks dominated the game, combining for 61 points in total. Brooks showed exactly why Williams chose him to start.

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Brooks showed flashes of is offensive potential, once he put his skills together he plays similar to former big man Brice Johnson. Johnson noticed Brooks’s career night and took to Twitter to give him a compliment as well.

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In Cam Johnson’s 100th collegiate basketball game he showed us some things. There were clear signs of his heavy pursuit on the glass finishing with 8 rebounds. What was also apparent was his knockdown shooting; scoring 17 points on five three pointers, four of them being in the second half. Johnson showed a high motor throughout the game and kept the team motivated while having to deal with a chaotic Wofford student section which consisted of 3,000 students.

Coby White had flashes of amazing play-making and scoring potential finishing with 8 points and 3 assists. White did have a few out of control turnovers in the first half, but that happens when you run on a motor as White does. But his confidence to shoot the ball shows that there is not a bashful bone in the North Carolina native’s body. Seventh Woods also showed flashes of impressive guard play being a lead distributor at the point guard position. Woods finished the game with 2 points and 3 assists, 2 of those assists on lobs that were impressive feeds.

Nassir Little played twenty minutes in his first regular season game as a Tar Heel finishing with 7 points and 2 assists. Little’s potential to be a solid defensive player was on full display in game one. He had two blocks and a steal in limited time and he had no fouls. A smart defender is the best defender because longevity on the court is so important.

Kenny Williams finished this game scoreless, but did have the flawless defense while still contributing five assists and 6 rebounds. But the beauty of Carolina’s offensive scoring is that Williams can have a scoreless night and the starters won’t miss a step. He’s not integral to their success offensively. Williams will find himself making a difference outside of the box score throughout this season similar to Theo Pinson.

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The win against Wofford for the returning players was a very encouraging way to open the season. The Tar Heels will now take on Elon University Friday at  7 PM EST on ESPNU.

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