UNC Basketball: Hot shooting Tar Heels ease past Stanford

CHAPEL HILL, NC - JANUARY 16: Kenny Williams
CHAPEL HILL, NC - JANUARY 16: Kenny Williams /

North Carolina improves to 3-0, handily defeating Stanford ahead of the PK80 Invitational

Monday night was Roy Williams’ first game coaching against longtime assistant Jerod Haase since taking over at Stanford, and Williams didn’t take it easy as the Tar Heels defeated the Cardinal 96-72.

With a lot of energy from the crowd, the game had a lot of buzz early on as each team tried to get out and run as much as possible.

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A very fast-paced first half saw the Tar Heels ahead by 14, 50-36, with 38 of those points coming from Joel Berry II and Kenny Williams.

Starting the game off with the first 14 points for the Tar Heels, Williams had all 20 of his points in the first half.

The first front court test for the Tar Heels saw the big men for North Carolina struggle a bit in the first half.

After two early fouls on Garrison Brooks and Sterling Manley, who were averaging 24.5 points and 14.5 rebounds in the first two games, Brandon Huffman took full advantage of his early playing time. Huffman would go on to have six of his eight points in the first half, providing a spark for the front court.

Huffman and Manley would combine for 15 points and 10 rebounds as fellow freshman big, Garrison Brooks, struggled all game with foul trouble.

The Tar Heels never took their foot off the gas the entire second half, building the lead into the mid-20’s for most of the half.

Berry, who missed his first three shots of the game, and 13 in a row dating back to the Bucknell game, found his shot and had 18 points in the first half. He finished with 29 points on 10-of-19 shooting and three assists.

Stanford just couldn’t get any stops as its guards struggled to contain the Tar Heels’ back court all game long.

Reid Travis and Isaac White scored 21 and 20 points, respectively, for the Cardinal.

Along with trying to beat the Tar Heels, Stanford just couldn’t get out of its own way either, committing 20 turnovers and missing 11 free throws.

Related Story: Nike Releases Special Jerseys For PK80 Invitational

The Tar Heels return to action Thanksgiving Day as they face Portland in the first round of the Phil Knight Invitational.