UNC’s Pierce makes his presence known in win over UNC-W

Three North Carolina players got double figures in points and rebounds as the Tar Heels won at UNC-Wilmington 78-62. Cole Anthony, while not shooting as well as he did in the season opener, led the way with 20 points and 10 rebounds. Garrison Brooks and Justin Pierce had 18 points and 12 rebounds each. While North Carolina hasn’t been to UNC-Wilmington before, Pierce, UNC’s grad transfer from William & Mary, is very familiar with the 5,200-person arena. Pierce, who drained four threes on the night, led Carolina in the first half with 13 points as the Heels, already shorthanded, had […]

Three North Carolina players got double figures in points and rebounds as the Tar Heels won at UNC-Wilmington 78-62.

Cole Anthony, while not shooting as well as he did in the season opener, led the way with 20 points and 10 rebounds.

Garrison Brooks and Justin Pierce had 18 points and 12 rebounds each.

While North Carolina hasn’t been to UNC-Wilmington before, Pierce, UNC’s grad transfer from William & Mary, is very familiar with the 5,200-person arena.

Pierce, who drained four threes on the night, led Carolina in the first half with 13 points as the Heels, already shorthanded, had to survive an Armando Bacot concussion early.

The Tar Heels were challenged by the Seahawks through the first 10 minutes.

UNC-W got off to a 5-0 start and there were three ties and three lead changes.

A Brooks two-handed slam dunk started a 12-2 run as the Heels started to take control of the game.

Brooks hit a pair of free throws to give Carolina its first double-digit lead at 33-23.

The Heels settled for a 40-29 halftime lead despite missing eight free throws and shooting just 30 percent from the floor.

Carolina missed nearly half of it’s free throw shots during the game and finished shooting just 36.5 percent from the floor.

The game never got closer than eight in the second half as the Tar Heels worked the lead up to 22 at 70-48 after Anthony hit a step-back three and passed to Brandon Huffman for two.

It was Pierce though that took some of the attention from Anthony in this game.

“I got some open looks early,” Pierce said. “The guys did a good job of penetrating and kicking it back out to me. The shot felt great. I’m a confident player – I can shoot the ball.”

Pierce went over 1,000 points for his college career and he’s gotten some of those against UNC-W over the years.

“It was an awesome environment and cool to be back,” he said.

Pierce said the Heels have a lot of improving to do but it’s better to work on the problems after two wins.

The Tar Heels, 2-0, host Gardner Webb Friday, Nov. 15 at 9 p.m.

Box score