Johnson, Little lead No. 8 North Carolina past Elon, 116-67
ELON, N.C. (AP) — Cameron Johnson and freshman Nassir Little scored 21 points apiece, and No. 8 North Carolina routed Elon 116-67 on Friday night.
Freshman Coby White added 14 points to help the Tar Heels (2-0) sweep their two-game, season-opening barnstorming tour of regional mid-majors. They beat Wofford 78-67 on Tuesday night in Spartanburg, South Carolina, before having a much easier time against the Phoenix, who christened their new $40 million on-campus arena.
Little was 9 of 13 while Johnson finished 7 of 11. Sterling Manley added 11 points and Luke Maye finished with 10 rebounds for North Carolina, which shot 52 percent — including 56 percent during a defense-optional first half that ended with the Tar Heels leading 63-45.
They finished with a 60-31 rebounding edge and outscored Elon 56-22 in the paint, pushing their lead into the 20s for good on White’s 3-pointer barely a minute into the second half and going up by 30 on Little’s dunk with less than 14 minutes to play.
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Sheldon Eberhardt scored 16 points, Steven Santa Ana added 14 and Tyler Seibring finished with 10 for the Phoenix (1-1). They haven’t beaten North Carolina since 1918 and remained winless against Top 25 opponents since moving to Division I in the late 1990s.
North Carolina: Playing before a lively road crowd didn’t rattle the Tar Heels’ two highest-profile freshmen. White, who earned a second straight start at point guard, looked more comfortable than he did against Wofford, scoring in double figures for the first time. So did Little, who by far was the most athletic player on the court and scored 10 points during that high-scoring, tone-setting first half.
Elon: Getting the Tar Heels to make the 35-mile trip west was a big deal for the Phoenix — the schools haven’t played here since 1950. But they didn’t have enough offensive firepower to handle an up-and-down game with a UNC team that went nearly a dozen men deep. That won’t be as much of a problem once Elon gets into Colonial Athletic Association play.
North Carolina: Plays its home opener Monday night against Stanford, led by former Williams assistant Jerod Haase.
Elon: Plays host to Milligan of the NAIA on Nov. 15.
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