Tar Heels hammer ODU in Roy Williams’ Carolina debut
Chapel Hill, NC (Sports Network) – Rashad McCants scored 18 points and Sean
May added 17, as the Roy Williams caoching era at ninth-ranked North
Carolina opened with a 90-64 win over the Monarchs of Old Dominion at
the Dean E. Smith Center.
Melvin Scott contributed 15 points and Jawad Williams and Jackie Manuel each
added 12, as North Carolina followed two campaigns that saw them lose a
combined 36 games with an impressive win
“For the most part there was some fun out there tonight,” Williams said. “I
think that is important because it hasn’t been that much fun for the kids
playing the game the last several months. I want them to enjoy the game and
sometimes the best way to do that is to play your tail off.”
Abdi Lidonde led with 15 points and John Waller had 14 points with nine
assists, as the Monarchs didn’t come close to matching last year’s
performance, when they lost just 67-59 to the Tar Heels.
Williams worked as an assistant for 10 years under the man for whom the
building is named, legendary UNC coach Dean Smith (1978-88).
“I think I had a few more chills when I came out of the tunnel,” Williams said
of his North Carolina debut. “I wasn’t nervous. I haven’t been nervous since I
played in the tenth grade. But I don’t mind telling you there were a few more
When Williams left for the head coaching position at Kansas, he led the
Jayhawks to 14 straight NCAA Tournaments, reaching the Sweet 16 nine times,
the Final Four four times and the championship game twice.
It was tight and low-scoring early, as Valdas Vasylius’ jumper with more than
four minutes gone in the game made UNC’s advantage just 6-4. But when Byron
Sanders made a pair of free throws with 7:28 to go in the half, it capped a
23-8 Tar Heels run that made the score 29-12.
From there, the Monarchs played UNC to a standstill for the remainder of the
half. When McCants made a jumper with 12 seconds to go, it re-established a
17-point lead at 40-23.
May and McCants each had 11 to lead the Tar Heels at halftime. Alex Loughton
had six at the break to pace the Monarchs.
UNC continued its dominance in the second half, opening up on a 22-5 run over
the first eight minutes. McCants drained three free throws after Loughton
fouled him while attempting a shot from beyond the arc five minutes in and
later hit a jumper. A Jackie Manuel layup ended the spurt that made it 62-28.
“We did get a couple of flurries in there. John Wooden said a long time ago,
you only have to have a couple of runs a game and that can decide the game,”
ODU never got it closer than 30 points the rest of the way.
UNC preseason All-American Raymond Felton limped off the floor, clutching his
ankle during the game, but returned three minutes later.