Hoops roundup: Tar Heels, Wolfpack open with victories

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 10, 2021

By Bob Sutton

Associated Press

CHAPEL HILL —    Hubert Davis said he wanted to put his full attention on his team during a changing of the guard for North Carolina basketball. He mostly liked what he saw from the Tar Heels in his coaching debut.

Caleb Love scored 22 points and No. 19 North Carolina led the whole way, beating Loyola of Maryland 83-67 on Tuesday night.

“My concentration and focus was on the team,” Davis said.

Davis, a former North Carolina player, replaced the retired Roy Williams in April after spending seven seasons on Williams’ staff, and he acknowledged the attention he was getting as he takes over the storied program.

“We definitely knew in the back of our minds,” guard Kerwin Walton said. “This is going to be a new era. It’s his era.”

Said Love: “I’m happy for him and I’m happy for this team that we got the win.”

Williams watched from a front-row seat near the tunnel where the Tar Heels run onto the court.

“It is a big deal. It’s emotional and it’s a change,” Davis said. “Me being in this role is different. I understand the impact of me being in this position.”

The Tar Heels were motivated to come through for their new coach.

“It was really intense. He was fired up, super excited,” Walton said. “I think that when he got his first win, it really got us going.”

Brady Manek, a graduate transfer from Oklahoma, poured in 20 points for the Tar Heels, who scored the game’s first nine points. Dawson Garcia, a transfer from Marquette, added 12 points and Walton scored 11 points. Jaylin Andrews scored 17 points to lead Loyola.

North Carolina is 100-12 in season openers, winning its first game of a season for the 17th consecutive year. The Heels are at home Friday night against Brown.

NC State 88, Bucknell 70

RALEIGH (AP) — Jericole Hellems led an N.C. State comeback with 22 points, Terquavion Smith added 20 and Dereon Seabron 18 as the Wolfpack dominated after halftime to turn back Bucknell.

The Wolfpack, winners of 27 of their last 28 home openers against nonconference opponents, had the streak in doubt after starting 0-for-10 shooting from the floor. The Wolfpack asserted control after halftime, upping their shooting from 39.5% to 53% and forcing 11 turnovers.

East Carolina 70, SC State 62

GREENVILLE, N.C. (AP) — J.J. Miles scored 18 points as East Carolina beat South Carolina State.

Tristen Newton added 15 points for the Pirates. Vance Jackson recorded 12 points and 13 rebounds and Brandon Johnson added 11 points and 13 rebounds.

Cameron Jones had 15 points and nine rebounds for the Bulldogs. TJ Madlock added 11 points and six rebounds, and Jemel Davis had three blocks.

Charlotte 68, Monmouth 66

CHARLOTTE (AP) — Clyde Trapp Jr. had a career-high 20 points to lead Charlotte past Monmouth.

Jahmir Young had 14 points and 10 rebounds for Charlotte. Aly Khalifa added 11 points and Austin Butler had 10 points.

Young made two free throws with 2:04 remaining for a 68-64 lead. Walker Miller scored 23 points for the Hawks.

UAB 102, UNC Asheville 77

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Jordan Walker and Quan Jackson scored 19 points apiece as UAB rolled past UNC Asheville.

Tavin Lovan and Michael Ertel each added 13 points for the Blazers. KJ Buffen chipped in 11. LJ Thorpe had 16 points for the Bulldogs. Drew Pember added 14 points and Tajion Jones had 10 points.

Florida 74, Elon 61

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Colin Castleton and Myreon Jones each scored 18 points and Florida cruised to a 74-61 victory over Elon.

Castleton, a senior who had entered the NBA draft, scored 17 points in the first half and finished 7-of-11 shooting from the floor. Jones, a Penn State transfer who led the Nittany Lions last season averaging 15.3 points, made 6 of 13 shots and was 4 of 8 from long range.

Michael Graham scored 16 points and grabbed nine rebounds to lead Elon.

Road to March Madness
will be filled with fans

Talk about buildup for a season.

College basketball had March Madness wiped out and no national champion because of the pandemic in 2020. Last season was mostly played without fans and the NCAA Tournament was in an Indianapolis bubble. Well, the doors are open this season and the arenas will be packed. The fans will love it and the players will, too.

And it should be an incredible ride to the Final Four in New Orleans with so many great teams, veteran players with extra eligibility and another crop of fabulous freshmen.

TOP TEAMS

Gonzaga. The top-ranked Zags came up a game short of their first national title last year and will be among the favorites to get back there this season.

UCLA. Nearly everyone is back from the Bruins’ 2021 Final Four run. Don’t be surprised if they get there again — and maybe win it.

Kansas. An early loss in the NCAA Tournament caused Bill Self to tear down his roster and rebuild it. The replacement parts — top-tier transfers and multiple-star freshmen — have the Jayhawks eyeing a much deeper run this season.

Villanova. Master tactician Jay Wright is about due for another championship. He has the type of roster to pull it off.

Texas. Chris Beard wasted no time in loading up his first roster in Austin with talented veteran players. Those missed NCAA Tournaments and early exits could be a thing of the past.

STAR PLAYERS

Drew Timme, Gonzaga. The crafty big man and his ‘stache decided to come back. We’re all beneficiaries.

Johnny Juzang, UCLA. Wow, what a star turn he took at the NCAA Tournament. It’ll be fun to see what’s next for the high-scoring guard.

Kofi Cockburn, Illinois. The 7-foot, 285-pound big man is back after looking at the NBA. Good luck to anyone who tries to get in his way.

Collin Gillespie, Villanova. The heady point guard’s knee injury derailed the Wildcats’ season last spring. His return puts them among the title favorites.

Trace Jackson-Davis, Indiana. The junior forward led the Hoosiers in scoring, rebounds and blocked shots last year. He could lead them back to the NCAA Tournament this year.

BEST GAMES

Champions Classic, Nov. 9, New York. A Kansas-Michigan State, Kentucky-Duke doubleheader at Madison Square Garden is the perfect way to kick off the season.

No. 1 Gonzaga vs. No. 2 UCLA, Nov. 23, Las Vegas. A rematch of one of the most epic Final Four games in history? Yes, please.

Gonzaga vs. No. 9 Duke, Nov. 26, Las Vegas. The Holmgren-Banchero matchup is worth the price of admission alone.

No. 10 Kentucky at No. 3 Kansas, Jan. 29. A midseason matchup of blue bloods during conference season will be a nice change of pace.

No. 19 North Carolina at Duke, March 5. Coach K’s final regular-season at Cameron — against the rival Tar Heels, no less — cannot be missed.

FABULOUS FRESHMAN

Chet Holmgren, Gonzaga. The term unicorn gets overused. This 7-foot, 195-pound, shot-blocking, outside-shooting, ball-handling Zag may just be one.

Paolo Banchero, Duke. The 6-10, 250-pound forward has been projected to be the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft. College basketball fans are about to see why.

Emoni Bates, Memphis. The sharp shooter will get buckets in bunches for the Tigers.

Patrick Baldwin, Jr., Milwaukee. The skilled 6-9 power forward spurred Kentucky and Duke to play for his dad in Milwaukee. He has the skills to match any player in the country.

Kennedy Chandler, Tennessee. Want someone to run an offense? There may not be anyone better than the speedy, heady 6-footer.

NEW COACHES

Chris Beard, Texas. The defensive guru took Texas Tech to the Final Four and is already turning heads in Austin.

Tommy Lloyd, Arizona. Mark Few’s long-time right-hand man at Gonzaga gets his first shot a leading a program. He has the roster and the chops to have an immediate impact.

Hubert Davis, North Carolina. The former Tar Heels player and assistant takes over for Roy Williams. It should be a seamless transition.

Shaka Smart, Marquette. He wasn’t able to lead Texas to an NCAA Tournament victory. Back home in Wisconsin, Smart is hoping to conjure up some of the same magic he had at VCU

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