No. 11 North Carolina made a statement last time out and hopes to build off that effort when it takes on state rival Davidson at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte on Friday night. The Tar Heels were humbled by Michigan State while scoring just 45 points Sunday, but rebounded with a complete performance in an 86-71 victory over Michigan on Wednesday as part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
“Coach asked us after the game, what was your level of focus against Michigan State,” North Carolina senior swingman Theo Pinson told reporters. “Everybody said ‘F,’ because you see how we came out and played. (Wednesday) was an A.” Tar Heels coach Roy Williams had his team watch tape of the Michigan State game for 45 minutes because “we make those kind of mistakes and have people outwork you with more intensity, more effort, I think you’ve got to show it.” Junior forward Luke Maye continued his strong start with 27 points, draining exactly 11-of-16 shots from the field for the third time this season against the Wolverines and will need another big effort against a Davidson team that is averaging 86.6 points. The Wildcats snapped a two-game slide with an 85-70 triumph against Charlotte on Tuesday and boast three players scoring at least 15 points per contest.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, ESPN2
ABOUT NORTH CAROLINA (6-1): Maye, who averaged 5.5 points last season, has recorded at least 20 in five of seven games to start 2017-18 and tops the team in scoring (20.1) and rebounding (9.4) while shooting 55.3 percent from floor. Senior guard Joel Berry II scored 17 in the win over Michigan, pushing his season average to 15.3, and the Florida product is shooting better from 3-point range (35.9 percent) than overall (34.1). Junior guard Kenny Williams has been the Tar Heels’ best marksman from behind the arc, making 17-of-30 overall, and averages 13.7 points.
ABOUT DAVIDSON (3-2): Senior forward Peyton Aldridge leads the team in scoring (22.0) and rebounding (7.2) while draining 50.6 percent from the field and dishing out 3.4 assists per game. Sophomore guard Jon Axel Gudmundsson (15.8 points, 6.0 assists, 53.8 shooting percentage) and freshman backcourt mate Kellan Grady (15.0) give the Wildcats three dangerous offensive weapons who account for more than 60 percent of the scoring. Senior forward Oskar Michelsen has chipped in eight points per contest and drained 12-of-24 from 3-point range.
1. Berry has connected on 187 from 3-point range in his career, one behind Reggie Bullock for ninth on the school’s all-time list.
2. Davidson senior G Rusty Reigel has drained 11-of-15 shots from the field since missing his only two tries in the opener.
3. The Tar Heels have won the last eight meetings and Davidson’s last victory in the series came in 2001.
PREDICTION: North Carolina 89, Davidson 68