North Carolina made quick work of No. 16 seed Texas Southern on Friday afternoon as the No. 1 seed Tar Heels scored a 103-64 win in the first round in the South Region.
Junior Justin Jackson started off the NCAA Tournament with a strong outing as he knocked down five three-pointers to lead the Tar Heels (28-7) with 21 points.
Things were looking great for North Carolina until point guard Joel Berry II landed awkwardly on his right ankle and exited the game during the first half. Berry returned for the second half and played a few minutes while looking like he could move around alright. Monitoring the status of Berry’s ankle will be important for North Carolina’s NCAA Tournament hopes. Thankfully, Berry turned his left ankle when he missed time earlier this season, so it isn’t the same ankle as before.
Senior Nate Britt stepped up in Berry’s absence as he finished with 10 points and five assists off the bench.
North Carolina was also able to overwhelm Texas Southern on the interior as Isaiah Hicks (17 points), Kennedy Meeks (13 points), Tony Bradley (12 points) and Luke Maye (10 points) all finished in double-figures.
Texas Southern (23-12) was led by Kevin Scott with 19 points while freshman guard Damontrae Jefferson had 13 points.
North Carolina advances to face No. 8 seed Arkansas in the second round of the South Region on Sunday as they’ll face off in Greenville, South Carolina. Arkansas scored a solid win over No. 9 seed Seton Hall on Friday but they will be heavy underdogs against the Tar Heels.