North Carolina slips by Wofford in season opener, 78-67


Garrison Brooks slamming it home. (AP/Photo Steve Reed)

By Hunter Bailey. October 6, 2018. SPARTANBURG, S.C. – A sold out Jerry Richardson Indoor Stadium roared in hopes of yet another upset victory against North Carolina, but Luke Maye and company caged the Terriers’ upset bid behind the Naismith candidate’s game-high 24 points resulting in a 78-67 North Carolina victory in the season opener.

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Wofford trekked to Chapel Hill last December and upset the Heels in front of the UNC faithful on a flurry of three-pointers from sharpshooter Fletcher Magee. Sophomore forward Garrison Brooks used the loss as fuel, motivating the Heels to circle this as a revenge game. “I take everything personal, if you want to win, you want to be the best, you have to take it personal.”

GAME BREAKDOWN

Brooks responded emphatically with a career-high 20 points and monstrous intensity. The frontcourt duo of Maye and Brooks combined for 44 of the Heels 78 points. Maye scored the first basket of the season on a mid-range fall-away jumper and finished the night shooting 7-13 from the field. Maye isn’t allowing the Atlantic Coast Conference Preseason Player of the Year hype overtake him, as he gave all the credit to his teammates after the game.“The biggest player on our team tonight was Kenny (Williams),” said Maye. “what he did (defensively) on Fletcher is incredibly tough to do.”

Cameron Johnson totaled 17 points on an impressive 5-7 from downtown and hit three big threes in as many minutes to halt the Wofford comeback. The senior wing looks to be a potential closer for the Heels as he’s finding his stroke from beyond the arc.

Fletcher Magee from three (Wofford Terriers)

Side Note: A blue-blood program like North Carolina isn’t obligated to play a true road game against a Southern Conference school, but the Heels are the only AP ranked P-5 team scheduled to do so this season.

Fletcher Magee led the way for the Terriers with 21 points, but hounding defense provided by UNC senior Kenny Williams held the 2017-2018 Southern Conference Player of the Year to just 3-16 from three-point range. Magee saw his first shot drop with just under four minutes remaining in the first half, but the streaky shooting wasn’t enough for the Terriers.

Nassir Little made the most of his 15-minute performance Tuesday night and scored his first points as a Tar Heel on a mid-range jumper following a nifty hesitation dribble. Little is projected to be selected in the top-5 of the 2019 NBA draft and is expected to see increased minutes throughout the season. He finished the night with 7 points and 2 blocks, but the freshman’s presence was felt on the defensive end with a ferocious chase-down block in the second half.

Coby White got the start at Point Guard for NorthCarolina, finishing the night with a performance told by two halves. First-game jitters headlined White’s first collegiate half, but the highly touted freshman showed signs of confidence in the final twenty minutes. A clutch three-pointer from White extended the Carolina lead to 11 with under five minutes remaining, and the Heels didn’t look back.

AFTER THE GAME

“I feel really good about what our guys did tonight,”North Carolina head coach Roy Williams said after the game. “I got mad at Luke and took him out before the end of the first half, he didn’t think aboutthat in the second half, he played basketball.”

WHAT’S NEXT?

Wofford travels to High Point to take on the Panthers as both programs look for their first wins.

North Carolina heads to Elon on Friday, as the programs meet for just the second time in their respective history’s. UNC dominated the first matchup, winning 100-62 in December of 2011.

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