Jackson’s shot is back in Heels blowout win

Since he was named the ACC’s top player, UNC’s Justin Jackson had gone cold, hitting only a third of his shots and missing nearly all of his three pointers. In the first round of the NCAA Tournament, Jackson re-discovered his shooting touch, draining five threes as the Heels whipped Texas Southern 103-64. Jackson scored 19 of his team-high 21 in the first half when the Tar Heels were putting the game away early. Trailing 10-8, North Carolina went on a 16-0 run in fewer than four minutes to take control. During the stretch, Jackson hit his first three of the […]

Since he was named the ACC’s top player, UNC’s Justin Jackson had gone cold, hitting only a third of his shots and missing nearly all of his three pointers. In the first round of the NCAA Tournament, Jackson re-discovered his shooting touch, draining five threes as the Heels whipped Texas Southern 103-64.

Jackson scored 19 of his team-high 21 in the first half when the Tar Heels were putting the game away early.

Trailing 10-8, North Carolina went on a 16-0 run in fewer than four minutes to take control. During the stretch, Jackson hit his first three of the game.

“We got off to a good start,” UNC coach Roy Williams said. “That big run was good for us.”

But the biggest takeaway from the game? Seeing Jackson put the ball through the hoop, Coach Williams said. He said he had a conversation with Jackson about how he was putting too much pressure on himself.

Other than outrebounding the much shorter Texas Southern team 54-27, the other key for the Tar Heels was simply playing defense without fouling, Coach Williams said. Carolina went to the line 10 more times than the opponent.

Offensively, six Tar Heels scored in double figures. After Jackson’s 21 points, Isaiah Hicks scored 17 points in only 17 minutes. Kennedy Meeks added 13 while Tony Bradley chipped in 12. Both Nate Britt and Luke Maye, who led the Heels with nine rebounds, tallied 10 points.

A scary moment in the game came when UNC’s Joel Berry twisted an ankle and had to leave for the lockerroom. He returned later and played a couple of minutes before bowing out to the subs. It wasn’t a stellar game for Berry who hit only one of eight shots but the one he hit was a three at the first-half buzzer that gave UNC its largest lead of the first half at 52-27.

Carolina’s largest lead of the game came late when seldom-used sub Kanler Coker, a senior, tightroped the baseline for a reverse layup that sent the bench into a frenzy and gave the Heels a 101-61 lead.

The Tar Heels, now 28-7, play Arkansas in the second round of the tournament in Greenville, S.C.

For a box score and more commentary on the game, please click here.