ASHEVILLE, N.C.- The Tar Heels remain undefeated as they crush round one of the Maui Invitational, defeating UNLV, 78-51.
The opening half was nerve-racking for fans as the Heels quickly fell behind the Rebels 13 points before senior Andrew Platek knocked down the first three of the game at the 13:42 mark in the first half. Head coach Roy Williams didn't display any nerves in his team and was fully committed to their ability to display aggression and take over the game.
Postgame, Williams stated that, as fans and staff know, he wouldn't call a timeout during the team's adversity because it was their own doing. Working through the tricky spot provided the team with confidence in themselves and their teammates. The Asheville native coach also stated that he wasn't concerned about the scoring initially but how they were playing.
No. 14 North Carolina (2-0, 1-0) took its first lead with 3:22 left in the first half on a drive-by RJ Davis to go ahead 29-27; UNLV (0-2, 0-2) didn't see a lead after that. UNC out-scored UNLV 78-38 over the final 33:42. Lastly, Carolina held UNLV to 16.7 percent shooting from the floor in the second half (6 of 36) and 29.0 percent from the floor for the game (18 of 62).
11 out of 15 players scored for North Carolina, with four in double digits. Freshman RJ Davis lead the pack with 16 points, six rebounds, one assist, and senior Garrison Brooks completed the game with 14 points, seven rebounds, and one assist; Brooks also becomes the 78th player to score 1,000 career points as a Tar Heel. The 78 players are an NCAA record. He's the first Tar Heel to reach 1,000 since Luke Maye in 2019.
Tar Heels will play the winner of Alabama/Stanford, 4 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 1, in the Camping World Maui Invitational semifinals (ESPN).
Other Carolina Game Notes:
- Leaky Black had a game-high ten rebounds, tying his career-high (10 at Notre Dame on 2/17/20).
- A freshman guard led UNC in scoring for the second time in as many games. RJ Davis led UNC tonight with 16 points; Caleb Love had 17 in the opener vs. Charleston.
- Tar Heels are 2-0, 1-0 at home, and 1-0 at neutral sites.
- This was the second time UNC played a men's basketball game in this arena. On Nov. 21, 1974, Carolina beat Athletes in Action, 117-80, in an exhibition game. The building had just recently opened and was known as the Asheville Civic Center. Mitch Kupchak led UNC with 28 points.
- UNLV scored the first 13 points. That's the most points by an opponent to begin a game since Miami led 14-0 in the 2018 ACC Tournament quarterfinal in Brooklyn. UNC led 32-31 at the half and won that game, 82-65.
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