Tar Heels race past UNC-Asheville, improve record to 2-0 | Sports

Tar Heels race past UNC-Asheville, improve record to 2-0

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The Blue Ridge Mountains took on a powder blue tint Sunday afternoon
  • The Blue Ridge Mountains took on a powder blue tint Sunday afternoon
ESPNU — North Carolina returned to the state on Sunday after its aircraft carrier experience on Friday night, breezing by a highly energized UNC-Asheville club 91-75 in the first game at Kimmel Arena.

The Tar Heels certainly weren’t overpowering, but they did showcase their offensive prowess after an inept scoring performance two nights prior. Size was the story: Carolina was too big and too long for the Bulldogs, and they simply dumped the ball inside to Tyler Zeller and John Henson, who attempted 24 of the team’s 54 shots.

Zeller scored 27 points on 11-for-13 shooting, adding eight rebounds and a block. Henson compiled 20 points (8-for-11 field goals), 12 rebounds and two blocks. Harrison Barnes scored a few buckets in the paint as well, finishing with 17 points and five rebounds but saddled with six turnovers. Point guard Kendall Marshall recovered from a poor outing in the first game to rack up 15 assists and only one turnover.

UNC’s ability to pummel the Bulldogs down low obscured the persistent question about Carolina’s outside shooting. The Heels shot only seven threes in the entire game, not a realistic number of attempts against a legitimate high-major opponent. So, credit them for playing to their strengths, but UNC-A didn’t provide an appropriate measuring stick as to how the team’s perimeter game is progressing.

Once again, Carolina’s defense warrants mention. The Heels forced only 10 turnovers but held the Bulldogs to under 40 percent shooting and only 29 percent from three-point range, forcing them to jack contested jump shots.

UNC takes a week off and plays its first game at the Smith Center next Sunday, versus Mississippi Valley State. Carolina’s next tilt against a major-conference opponent will be South Carolina (the Gamecocks themselves are expected to struggle this season) on November 25.

Click here to view the UNC/UNC-A box score.

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