Entering No. 6 North Carolina’s game against Davidson Saturday afternoon in Charlotte, sophomore center Kennedy Meeks was averaging 15.5 points and 10.5 rebounds per game. While the caliber of opposition isn’t in line with the talent Meeks and his teammates will see in some of their higher profile non-conference games or in ACC play, the start was a promising one for a player who entered the 2014-15 season in much better physical condition.
As a freshman Meeks tallied just two double-doubles the entire season. Meeks has now matched that in just three games, as he accounted for 19 points, 12 rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocks in the Tar Heels’ 90-72 victory over the Wildcats. Meeks connected on nine of his thirteen attempts from the field, raising his field goal percentage for the season up to 63.3%.
Meeks was one of four North Carolina starters to finish the game in double figures, with Justin Jackson adding 18 points and Marcus Paige (13) and J.P. Tokoto (ten) being the others. North Carolina will be at its best offensively when opportunities in transition and in the paint are plentiful, which was the case for most of the afternoon against Davidson. Twenty-one of North Carolina’s 33 made field goals were assisted, with three players (Johnson, Paige and Tokoto) responsible for four assists apiece, and they committed just nine turnovers.
If there was an issue for North Carolina it was Davidson freshman forward Peyton Aldridge, who who finished the game with 25 points on 9-for-16 shooting from the field. However part of the reason as to why Aldridge was so effective was the fact that guards Tyler Kalinoski and Brian Sullivan struggled shooting the basketball, as the combined to make just six of their twenty-eight attempts. Part of that has to be attributed to North Carolina’s perimeter defense, and on the afternoon Davidson shot just 33.8% from the field.
North Carolina will encounter tougher opposition at the Battle 4 Atlantis next week, where they’ll take on an improved Butler squad Wednesday afternoon. But if there’s anything to be taken from Saturday’s victory, it’s that with Brice Johnson struggling with foul trouble Kennedy Meeks stepped forward. And on the heels of his showing against Robert Morris (21 points, 12 rebounds), that’s a nice development for Roy Williams’ team.