Darryl Oumi/Getty Images

No. 4 North Carolina overpowers Chaminade 104-61 in Maui

Leave a comment

LAHAINA, Hawaii (AP) North Carolina had a hard time shaking pesky Chaminade early. Once the Tar Heels turned into a bully, they were able to run away from the Silverswords.

Isaiah Hicks scored 22 points, Kennedy Meeks had 20 points and 10 rebounds, and No. 4 North Carolina overpowered host Chaminade 104-61 Monday night in the Maui Invitational.

“We’re just too big for them,” Tar Heels coach Roy Williams said.

North Carolina (5-0) needed a little time to gain some separation from the Division II Silverswords, doing so midway through the first half by pounding the ball inside.

The Tar Heels outscored Chaminade 46-8 in the paint and had 26 second-chance points on 17 offensive rebounds to earn a spot in the semifinals against Oklahoma State on Tuesday.

Tony Bradley added 14 points and North Carolina shot 57 percent from the floor. Meeks and Hicks, both seniors, scored 20 points in the same game for the first time.

“We knew they were going to compete,” said Meeks, who hit all seven of his shots from the floor. “I know through watching them through the years and seen them knock off teams in this tournament. We definitely took advantage of the things we should have, getting the ball inside and hitting shots.”

Chaminade (2-1) shot well early to hang with the Tar Heels, but had little chance once they picked up the defensive pressure and got the ball inside on offense. The Silverswords went 10 of 28 from 3-point range but were outrebounded 52-23.

Rohndell Goodwin led Chaminade with 18 points, and Kiran Shastri added 13.

“It was pretty obvious to everybody that size and strength was the difference in this game,” Chaminade coach Eric Bovaird said. “They had (17) offensive rebounds and we had 23 total. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that out.”

Chaminade has a team filled with upperclassmen and has had a penchant for pulling off upsets. The Silverswords helped start the Maui Invitational with their shocker over top-ranked Virginia in 1982 and have knocked off big-name programs at this tournament through the years, most recently Texas in 2012.

North Carolina was not a favorable matchup for them.

The Tar Heels are long, athletic and considered national-title contenders even with forwards Luke Maye and Theo Pinson out with injuries.

The Silverswords’ only shot at another upset would be to shoot the lights out. They did early, making 12 of their first 21 field goal attempts to stay within 28-24 midway through the first half.

But then North Carolina’s size inside began to wear Chaminade down.

Behind the 6-foot-10 Meeks and the 6-9 Hicks, the Tar Heels started to stretch the lead. Meeks had 14 points by halftime, Hicks 13 and they combined to hit 11 of 13 shots to help North Carolina build a 50-34 advantage.

The Tar Heels opened the second half with an 11-4 run and never looked back.

“We felt like we could play them with our guards, but what can you do with three 6-11 guys?” Goodwin said. “It’s only so much we can do.”

BIG PICTURE

After a slow start, the Tar Heels did what they were supposed to against an overmatched opponent. They’ll need a better start against Oklahoma State’s pressure defense in the semifinals.

Chaminade again showed it can hang with the big boys, at least for stretches.

UP NEXT

North Carolina faces Oklahoma State in the semifinals on Tuesday.

Chaminade meets UConn in the second round.

VIDEO: Top 2018 recruits Zion Williamson and Romeo Langford go head-to-head at adidas

Leave a comment

This weekend is the first live evaluation period of the spring recruiting calendar as college coaches from all over the country are scouting (and babysitting) the top recruits in the Class of 2018 and 2019.

Friday night the adidas Gauntlet in Dallas opened with a marquee matchup of two star players as five-star forward Zion Williamson and five-star guard Romeo Langford went head-to-head in what should be one of the best games of the spring.

Most scouting services have Williamson and Langford as the No. 2 and No. 3 overall prospects in the Class of 2018 as the duo didn’t disappoint in front of the huge crowd in Fort Worth.

Williamson helped his team to a win with 26 points and seven rebounds while Langford had 28 points, four rebounds and four assists. You’ll be hearing plenty about both of these guys over the next few months as both are still wide open in the recruting process.

(H/t: Ball is Life)

Report: Coppin State hires Juan Dixon as new head coach

Jamie Squire/ESPN/Getty Images
1 Comment

Coppin State has hired former Maryland star guard Juan Dixon to be its next head coach, according to a report from Don Markus of the Baltimore Sun.

The 38-year-old Dixon is best known for leading Maryland to the 2002 national championship as he was the Most Outstanding Player at the Final Four that year. Now Dixon will have a chance to lead a Division I program for the first time.

Dixon spent seven years in the NBA and also played professionally in Europe before joining the Maryland coaching staff in 2013 as a special assistant to head coach Mark Turgeon. Not retained by Maryland after the 2015-16 season, Dixon took the head coaching job for the women’s team at the University of the District of Columbia last season as the Division II program finished only  3-25.

Coppin State finished last season with an 8-24 record after losing its first 12 games of the season. While Dixon will generate some positive local buzz given his background, he’s going to have an uphill battle trying to rebuild that program.

Nebraska scores important Class of 2017 commitment from four-star guard Thomas Allen

Leave a comment

Nebraska landed an important commitment from the Class of 2017 on Friday as four-star guard Thomas Allen is heading to Lincoln next season.

The 6-foot-1 guard is considered the No. 99 overall prospect by Rivals in the national Class of 2017 rankings as Allen was previously committed to N.C. State before head coach Mark Gottfried was fired.

A scorer with a good amount of skill, Allen has a chance to come in and make an immediate impact at Nebraska as he can play a bit on or off the ball. Allen should help offset the loss of senior Tai Webster in the Husker backcourt.

Allen joins wing Nana Akenten in Nebraska’s Class of 2017 recruiting efforts.

North Carolina lands four-star Class of 2017 big man Garrison Brooks

Leave a comment

North Carolina pulled in a late Class of 2017 commitment to begin the weekend as the Tar Heels secured a pledge from four-star Class of 2017 big man Garrison Brooks.

The 6-foot-9, 225-pound Brooks was previously committed to Mississippi State, but he was granted his release this spring to explore other opportunities.

The Tar Heels pounced as they’re getting a low-post threat who could develop into a potential double-double threat. A solid rebounder who isn’t afraid to play with physicality, Brooks has a chance to earn some immediate rotation minutes with seniors like Isaiah Hicks and Kennedy Meeks exhausting their eligibility.

Brooks is regarded as the No. 120 overall prospect in the Class of 2017, according to Rivals, as he is a four-star prospect. The native of Auburn, Alabama joins a North Carolina recruiting class that includes point guard Jalek Felton, shooting guard Andrew Platek and big men Brandon Huffman and Sterling Manley.

Report: NCAA ‘anticipates’ hearing UNC case in mid-August

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
7 Comments

Today, the AP churned out a story on Greg Sankey’s involvement with the NCAA’s investigation into the academic scandal at North Carolina, and buried within that story is this little nugget:

UNC must respond to the latest charges by May 16. The NCAA enforcement staff then has until July 17 for its own response. Sankey wrote that his panel will hear the case in August with “anticipated” dates of Aug. 16 and 17.

Rulings typically come weeks to months later.

We’ve been down this road before, as the current iteration of the Notice of Allegations is the third that the NCAA has provided the university. The first was given out back in May of 2015 for an investigation that began back in 2010.