CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WNCN/AP) — With his father in the stands, superstar freshman guard Cole Anthony made a monster debut in a win for the North Carolina Tar Heels over Notre Dame.
Though a UNLV alum, dad Greg Anthony — dressed in everything Tar Heel blue — watched his son light up the nets to a tune of 34 points (23 in the second half) and 11 rebounds. He also added 5 assists and shot 6-for-11 from the three-point line.
Anthony is the only player in Tar Heel history to put up such numbers in his debut game. The Atlantic Coast Conference preseason freshman of the year broke Rashad McCants’ 17-year-old scoring record by a freshman in his first game.
“It’s cool, I’m going to — not celebrate, but be happy about it a little bit tonight, give myself a little pat on the back,” Anthony said. “But we’ve got practice tomorrow. We’ve got to lock back in. We’ve got a game on Friday.”
The Heels got off to a slow start after trailing 31-30 at the half, but a reset allowed them to put their foot on the gas pedal, defeating Notre Dame 76-65. Carolina outscored Notre Dame 46-34 in the second half.
Anthony scored 15 points during a 29-13 second-half run that put the Tar Heels in control.
Prentiss Hubb scored a career-high 22 points, T.J. Gibbs added 19 and John Mooney finished with 10 for the Fighting Irish. They led 37-32 just under 2 minutes into the second half.
Forward Garrison Brooks was the only other Tar Heel to score in double figures.
With 85-percent of last season’s scoring mostly on NBA rosters, it will be interesting to see how UNC manufactures points. As it stands now, it looks like they will need to be an exceptional defensive team to help hide offensive inefficiencies.
As the season wears on and chemistry builds, look for the offense to catch up.
North Carolina missed a couple of players due to injury including guard Brandon Robinson, and forward Sterling Manley, both of which project to play important roles for the team this year.
UNC moved to 16-1 under Roy Williams in season openers.
The Tar Heels will travel to UNC-Wilmington on Friday.
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