Senior guard Cameron Johnson scored 16 of his 21 points in the first half as No. 8 North Carolina steamrolled host Elon 116-67 on Friday night at the new Schar Center in Elon, N.C.
Playing about 35 minutes from its Chapel Hill campus, North Carolina received nice contributions from its freshmen, just three nights before the team’s home debut. Freshman reserve Nassir Little racked up 21 points and seven rebounds, including a highlight-reel second-half dunk, and first-year point guard Coby White racked up 14 points.
Johnson was 2-for-3 on 3-point attempts, pushing his two-game total to 7-for-10. Sterling Manley added 11 points and eight rebounds off the bench, while Luke Maye finished with eight points and 10 rebounds for the Tar Heels (2-0).
Sheldon Eberhardt’s 16 points and Steven Santa Ana’s 14 points paced Elon (1-1), while Tyler Seibring added 10 points.
Santa Ana hit three 3-pointers to keep Elon within 23-20 early. The senior guard ended up 4-for-7 from long range, with the rest of his team a combined 3-for-22.
The Tar Heels withstood an early wave of energy from the Phoenix before pulling away.
North Carolina led 63-45 at halftime and shot 55.6 percent from the field in the first half despite being only 3-for-11 from 3-point range.
Johnson had 11 points barely more than 11 minutes into the game.
The teams combined to score on 12 of 13 possessions during a first-half stretch that looked like an offensive free-for-all.
North Carolina began the second half on a 21-5 burst, at times resembling a layup drill.
This was North Carolina’s second road game of the week after winning Tuesday night at Wofford. The Tar Heels had not begun a season with consecutive road ventures since the 1986-87 season.
North Carolina last visited Elon in 1950 with the game played down the street at Alumni Gym. Elon, a member of the Colonial Athletic Association, will not play another Division I team at home until Dec. 1.
—Field Level Media