January 5, 2019 / 7:41 PM / 6 months ago

No. 15 North Carolina cruises in ACC opener

Freshman guard Coby White scored 22 points for No. 15 North Carolina as the visiting Tar Heels drubbed Pittsburgh 85-60 in the conference opener for both teams Saturday afternoon at the Petersen Events Center in Pittsburgh.

Luke Maye had 17 points and 11 rebounds and Cameron Johnson, a former Pittsburgh player, added 15 points for the Tar Heels (11-3, 1-0), who were never threatened in the second half on the way to their third consecutive victory.

North Carolina improved to 54-12 all-time in Atlantic Coast Conference openers.

Freshman Trey McGowens poured in 17 points and freshman Xavier Johnson had 14 points for Pittsburgh (10-4, 0-1). McGowens scored 10 of his points on foul shots. Malik Ellison chipped in 10 points for the Panthers.

Johnson, a graduate transfer in his second season with the Tar Heels after leaving Pittsburgh, made his first three 3-point attempts. North Carolina didn’t visit Pittsburgh last season, so this marked his first time on a visiting team in the building. It was his 39th game in the arena.

White made four 3-point baskets as part of his 8-of-15 shooting. He was the only player on the team to shoot above 50 percent from the field.

Spurred by a 16-0 run, the Tar Heels built a 45-23 halftime lead.

North Carolina withstood some early foul troubles, with Pittsburgh going 10-of-15 on first-half free throws. The Tar Heels used 11 players in the first half, even without sophomore reserve forward Sterling Manley, who missed his second game in a row with a knee injury.

Pittsburgh went 10 1/2 minutes without a field goal, shooting 20.7 percent from the floor in the opening half. The Panthers missed on their first nine attempts from 3-point range and ended up 2-of-19 on 3s.

North Carolina has won the last four meetings with Pittsburgh.

It marked the first ACC game for the Panthers under first-year coach Jeff Capel, a former Duke player and assistant coach. The Panthers didn’t win an ACC game last season.

—Field Level Media

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