UNC routs Marquette in Davis’ NCAA coaching debut
Published 7:40 pm Thursday, March 17, 2022
By SCHUYLER DIXON
AP Sports Writer
FORT WORTH, Texas — Brady Manek scored 28 points, Caleb Love had 21 of his 23 before halftime and North Carolina routed Marquette 95-63 in first-year coach Hubert Davis’ NCAA Tournament debut Thursday.
Love made six 3-pointers, all in the first 19 minutes, to tie Carolina’s single-game tournament record as the Tar Heels (25-9) built a 28-point lead.
Manek, who also had 11 rebounds, finished with five 3s as he and Love combined to go 11 of 24 from long range. Armando Bacot grabbed 10 rebounds on his way to the school season record (422).
RJ Davis had a career-high 12 assists for eighth-seeded Carolina, which will play defending champion Baylor less than 100 miles from the Bears’ Waco campus Saturday.
The win was in stark contrast to last year, when the Tar Heels sent Roy Williams into retirement with his only opening-round loss in 30 NCAA appearances.
Shaka Smart’s return to Texas was a dud a year after he took the Marquette job amid questions about his future as coach of the Texas Longhorns following a shocking first-round loss to Abilene Christian.
Olivier-Maxence Prosper scored 16 points for the No. 9 seed Golden Eagles (19-13), who lost their third consecutive first-round game.
Smart, who lost all three of his first-round games in six seasons with the Longhorns, had one of three Marquette technical fouls in a span of 90 seconds late in the first half when he complained about a no-call. Kur Kuath got one for hanging on the rim after a dunk. Darryl Morsell was penalized on review after a scramble for a loose ball.
Just before the tech spree, Morsell ended up nose-to-nose with Love after trying to take the ball out of his hands when Love was called for stepping on the midcourt line while trying to dribble around the stocky Marquette guard.
The Tar Heels were already up 18 when players from both teams had to be separated. It quickly got worse from there.
Carolina finished the first half on a 16-4 run for a 53-25 lead, and Manek made it a 34-point game (67-33) with consecutive 3s early in the second half. The biggest lead for the Tar Heels was 35.
North Carolina: The last time Carolina played Marquette in the NCAA Tournament, in 2011, the Tar Heels had 25 points at halftime. They bounced back to win that game 81-63.
Marquette: A solid shooting team most of the season, the Golden Eagles struggled badly from the field early. They were shooting 22% after three misses at the rim in the same sequence. They finished at 36%.
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