Friday, November 9, 2012
Rapid Reaction: UNC 76, Gardner-Webb 59
By Robbi Pickeral
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- A quick breakdown of North Carolina's 76-59 victory Friday at the Smith Center:
How it happened: Gardner-Webb led 13-10 early in the season opener, but North Carolina closed out the first half with a 28-13 run to take a 38-26 lead into the break. Sophomore forward James Michael McAdoo was pivotal to the breakaway, scoring 10 of his career-high 26 points during that run.
The Tar Heels led by as many as 18 points in the second half but got sloppy in stretches -- perhaps to be expected from a team trying to find the right combinations after losing four of five starters from last season's squad to the NBA draft. Gardner-Webb cut its deficit to 63-54 with about five minutes left, but McAdoo followed a Leslie McDonald jumper with another field goal to thwart the rally.
McAdoo also recorded a career-high 14 rebounds. Senior Dexter Strickland -- back after surgery on his anterior cruciate ligament eight months ago -- added 13 points. Freshman point guard Marcus Paige, making his first college start, was 3-for-9 with 6 points, zero assists and 4 turnovers.
UNC shot 46.5 percent overall but was 1-for-12 from 3-point land.
Number to know: The Tar Heels have now won eight consecutive season openers and 78 of their past 83.
Hubbub: A day before the game, UNC coach Roy Williams said he didn’t know who would start in the post with McAdoo. Sophomore Desmond Hubert ended up getting the nod, but freshman Joel James started the second half. Strickland, Reggie Bullock and Paige were the other starters.
What’s next: UNC returns to the Smith Center to play Florida Atlantic at 2:30 p.m. ET on Sunday. Gardner-Webb plays Covenant at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.