To say North Carolina Central came into its regular-season opener against North Carolina banged up was an understatement. After spending much of the preseason with only six players at practice, NCCU played well in spurts, but ultimately fell 76-60 to sixth-ranked UNC.
UNC started off fast with an 11-0 lead in the game’s first five minutes, but NCCU clawed its way back to cut the deficit to 22-16 with under four minutes to play in the first half. That was as close as they would get as UNC stretched that lead to 28-19 at halftime.
The second half didn’t get any better for the Eagles as the Tarheels hit 47 percent of their field goals and stretched the lead to as many as 20 in the second half.
UNC’s Roy Williams wasn’t thrilled with the win, but he was glad to get it under his team’s belt.
“It was a W. It’s not the prettiest thing in the world, but give credit to Levelle [Moton’s] bunch,” Williams said. “I think they’re a good basketball team.”
NCCU’s Anthony McDonald scored a game-high 16 points, including a 3 for 11 performance from three-point range. Kwarmo Jawara and Dante Holmes both chipped in 11 each for NCCU.
UNC had three players score in double-figures, led by Brice Johnson’s 11 points, but it had 10 players score at least three points.
NCCU coach Levelle Moton said his program is past moral victories, but he was happy to just have enough guys to suit up.
“We’ve been practicing with six guys,” he said. “I’m not a good enough basketball coach to know what to do with just six guys practicing. Guess we’ll play a couple of games of three-on-three and a game of horse.”