WILMINGTON, N.C. — Freshman star Cole Anthony had 20 points and 10 rebounds to help ninth-ranked North Carolina beat UNC Wilmington 78-62 on Friday night.
Graduate transfer Justin Pierce had 18 points and 12 rebounds to offset a bad shooting night for Anthony, who had 34 points in his college debut against Notre Dame on Wednesday to set an Atlantic Coast Conference record for most points by a freshman in a college debut.
This time, Anthony made just 7 of 24 shots but finished with a second straight double-double to go with three assists and four made 3-pointers for the Tar Heels (2-0).
North Carolina was making its first trip to the coastal instate school, the product of the Seahawks being coached by longtime Roy Williams assistant C.B. McGrath. That created a sellout-crowd buzz and lines of students waiting outside of Trask Coliseum much of Friday ahead of the game.
The Tar Heels shot poorly but went ahead for good midway through the first half thanks largely to Pierce’s fast start. They also got a big performance from junior Garrison Brooks, who had his first double-double with 18 points and a career-high 12 rebounds.
UNC led 40-29 at halftime, then ran off 10 straight points to blow it open midway through the second half.
Shykeim Phillips and Jaylen Sims each scored 12 points for the Seahawks (1-1). They shot 35%.
UNC: The Tar Heels were playing two days after opening the season with a league victory, and their injury-shortened rotation got even shorter in this one when freshman big man Armando Bacot left in the first half after being hit inadvertently in the head while defending an off-balance shot. That dropped the Tar Heels to a seven-player rotation with Brandon Robinson already out with an ankle injury suffered in an exhibition game. UNC has some time off to heal up, as well as to work on free throws after making just 16 of 30 in this one.
UNC Wilmington: The Seahawks were picked to finish ninth in the Colonial Athletic Association with a roster breaking in eight new players. They had a rowdy home crowd behind them for the first visit from a ranked team since January 1992 and their first visit from an ACC team since November 2009, but fell to 1-35 against ranked teams and 2-42 against the ACC.
UNC: The Tar Heels host Gardner-Webb next Friday.
UNC Wilmington: The Seahawks host Campbell on Tuesday.