By Hunter Bailey. November 12, 2018. CHAPEL HILL, NC – Cameron Johnson led the way with 17 points for #7 North Carolina in a dominant first-half performance ultimately defeating Stanford 90-72 in the home opener.
Cover Image: Kenny Williams drives to the basket (AP/Photo – Gerry Broome)
Kenny Williams scored 5 of the first 7 points on the night for the Tar Heels, breaking his early-season shooting slump of missing ten consecutive shots.
“I knew I would hit some shots this game, I wasn’t worried about it,” Williams said after the game. “…I guess Stanford always gets the short end of the stick when it comes to me making shots.”
The Tar Heels jumped out to a 14-3 lead following a Luke Maye mid-range jumper. Stanford’s leading rebounder Oscar da Silva picked up three quick fouls in the first half, leading to a +10-rebounding margin for Tar Heels on the night (45-35).
North Carolina’s first-half performance headlined Monday’s game, shooting 60% from the field and doubling Stanford on the scoreboard 52-26. Maye sunk his only three-pointer of the night before the halftime buzzer. The Tar Heels defense was a spark in the first half, with 14 points off turnovers (22 on the game).
Carolina’s second-half performance was sloppy, but the Cardinal never got within 15 points. KZ Okpala led the way for Stanford with 16 points and 9 rebounds.
North Carolina’s depth has been on display, with seven different players scoring 10+ points in just three games this season.
#7 North Carolina picked up their third win of the season and their first in the Dean E. Smith Center, but head coach Roy Williams was not pleased.
“It was very frustrating to me. That was not the game we wanted to play, not the way we want to guard people. They shot 15 free throws in the second half,” Williams said post-game. “..they switched every screen and we acted like we had never seen that before in our lives. The best thing that ever happened to my team is that we do not have practice tomorrow.”
Jerod Haase played under Roy Williams at Kansas and was a part of UNC’s staff from 2003-2012 before becoming the head coach at Stanford. Haase falls to a 1-4 record against his former coach but had positive words for North Carolina after the game.
“My respect level for coach Williams is off the charts, but even more the relationship I have with him is truly special.”
HIGHLIGHT OF THE NIGHT
Stanford (2-1) heads back to California to take on Wofford (1-1) in a Battle 4 Atlantis campus game on Friday Night 11/16. North Carolina defeated Wofford 78-67 in the Terriers’ lone loss on the season.
North Carolina (3-0) returns to action Friday night in the Smith Center against the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles (0-2). TTU has dropped both games this season, 76-61 to Memphis, and 80-65 to Presbyterian.