Tar Heels battle Eagles in NIT Season Tip-Off
Charlotte, NC (Sports Network) – A spot in the semifinals at Madison Square
Garden awaits the winner of tonight’s NIT Season Tip-Off Charlotte Regional
game featuring the Winthrop Eagles and the second-ranked North Carolina Tar
The Eagles opened this tournament in convincing fashion as they posted a
57-38 win over Iona last night. It was the second straight win by Winthrop,
which defeated North Greenville, 89-46, in its season opener on Friday.
Following tonight’s game, the Eagles will head to Mississippi State as
they continue the non-conference portion of their schedule.
As for North Carolina, it opened its 2006-07 campaign last night by posting a
103-81 win over Sacred Heart. The win improved the Tar Heels to 85-12 all-time
in season openers. While the victory was solid, it was also expected, as UNC
welcomes back four starters from a club that won 23 games a year ago.
UNC and Winthrop have met on just one other occasion, with the Tar Heels
posting a 66-61 win during the 2000-01 season.
The Eagles did it with defense last night, as they held Iona to a dismal 31.3
percent shooting effort in a 57-38 victory. The team also dominated the
boards, 41-25, which was much needed as Winthrop connected on just 39.2
percent of its field goal attempts. The Eagles did manage to make 7-of-19
three pointers in the game, but that was nothing compared to their 17-of-36
effort from behind the arc in the opening win over North Greenville. Chris
Gaynor led the team to victory last night with 12 points, while Torrell
Martin, who scored 11 points in the opener, notched a double-double with 11
points and 10 rebounds. Michael Jenkins also got into the mix, chipping in 10
points. It was quite a turnaround for Jenkins, who poured in a career-high 40
points on a school-record tying 12 three pointers in the opener.
Tyler Hansbrough picked up right where he left off last year, as he poured in
29 points and ripped down nine caroms in leading UNC to a 103-81 triumph over
Sacred Heart last night. The 6-9 preseason All-American, who averaged 18.9 ppg
and 7.8 rpg as freshman a year ago, made 11-of-14 shots from the floor in the
win. Reyshawn Terry, the team’s second leading returning scorer (14.2 ppg),
also got into the mix, posting 18 points and eight rebounds. As a team, the
Heels shot a sizzling 58.8 percent from the floor, which included a 6-of-14
effort from long range. The team also held a 40-37 edge on the boards, in
addition to forcing 15 turnovers.