By David Rogers. March 17, 2017. GREENVILLE, SC — They came. They tried. They lost.
And that just about sums it up for the Texas Southern Tigers, the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) champion that was thoroughly outclassed by the NCAA “South” regional’s #1-seeded North Carolina on Friday at Bon Secours Arena, 103-64.
Texas Southern stayed with North Carolina for a few minutes, to 10-10, but then the Tar Heels’ went on a 14-0 run before the Tigers again found the bottom of the net.
The Tar Heels’ up-tempo, fast break offense was too much for the Texas Southern. That, and the hot hand of Lone Star State native and junior Carolina forward, Justin Jackson, who poured in a game-high 21 points in just 24 minutes of court time — and he had 19 of those points by halftime.
Carolina had six players in double figures, a number that also included senior forward Kennedy Meeks (13), senior forward Isaiah Hicks (17), senior guard Nate Britt (10), freshman forward Tony Bradley (12), and sophomore forward Luke Maye (10).
We felt like we had a big advantage inside.
Carolina also dominated the boards, doubling the Tigers rate in grabbing rebounds, 54-27, including a 20-6 advantage in offensive rebounds.
Afterwards, North Carolina head coach Roy Williams noted that his five got off to a good start by taking the ball inside.
“We felt like we had a big advantage inside,” Williams noted. “We wanted to get (inside) and we did. And Justin (Jackson) was phenomenal in the first half.”
Williams came close to emptying his bench in the runaway from the Tigers, with 14 players seeing court time.
When Williams was asked about his second round matchup vs. Arkansas, which plays a similar up-tempo game, Williams said, “Well, we have to attack them. I think they do want to speed you up. We like to play at that pace ourselves.
“We want them to go fast,” he added. “We want to go fast, but we have to take care of the basketball.”