Colonials tangle with sixth-ranked Tar Heels

Nov 16, 2014 - 4:32 PM Chapel Hill. NC ( - The sixth-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels will tip off the Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament with a preliminary contest at the Dean Smith Center on Sunday afternoon against the Robert Morris Colonials.

Robert Morris, which went 22-14 a season ago and won the regular-season Northeast Conference title last season, started off the 2014-15 poorly on Friday by getting blown out on its home floor against Lafayette, 77-50.

For the 10th straight season, UNC came away victorious in its season opener, as it downed Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference favorite North Carolina Central, 76-60. The Tar Heels' lead never dipped below double-digits in the second half.

Robert Morris and UNC have never before played one another in men's basketball.

The Colonials looked sluggish out of the gate in their opener, as they shot a lowly 24 percent from the field in the first half en route to a 20-point deficit at intermission, and they could never recover. They shot a mere 13- of-52 on the day, including 5-of-22 from 3-point range, and things could have been much worse if they didn't have a solid showing at the free-throw line (19-of-27). Lucky Jones, Kavon Stewart and Marcquise Reed all scored 10 points, with Reed doing so off the bench. Jones shot a miserable 2-of-14 from the field, an unfortunate trend he set last season when made field goals at just a 39.2 percent rate.

The offensive output from the Tar Heels wasn't quite as dominant as they had hoped - they shot 44.2 percent from the field but just 2-of-11 from 3-point range - but they made up for it with a stellar showing on the defensive end of the floor, holding NCCU to under 33 percent field goal shooting while forcing 14 turnovers. Six players scored at least seven points in the winning effort. Brice Johnson (12 points, eight rebounds) and Kennedy Meeks (10 points, eight rebounds) both blocked a pair of shots, and J.P. Tokoto tallied 10 points, five rebounds and four assists off the bench. It was a slow start for Preseason All-American Marcus Paige (17.5 ppg, 4.2 apg in 2013-14), who had just eight points and two assists.

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