Game Wrap-Up: Tar Heels rise above overmatched Golden Grizzlies


UNC 84, Oakland 61

Box Score

The end result was about what we expected (for the most part, disregard the actual prediction) but we have to admit we’re a little surprised by how we got there. This being the first game of the season, we’ll keep it short.

UNC vs. Oakland JP Tokoto

Takeaways

  • That first half was fun. 58-21 fun to be exact. James Michael McAdoo looked like the presence we assumed he would be last year. Mac Attacks, alley-oops, EMOTIONS! This is almost the exact opposite of what we thought he’d show Friday night for North Carolina. Instead of phoning in a performance against a week Oakland front court he was downright unstoppable for spurts and finished with 21-9. Freshman big man Kennedy Meeks also did not disappoint piling in some points early on his way to 10 pts, 5 rebs and 2 assists out of the post. Those dishes back out to the perimeter? Choice.
  •  Also stepping up like we wanted him to? Marcus Paige. Paige looked damn good draining 4 3-pointers and dropping 5 dimes. Nate Britt looked commendable in the start with 3 assists and 3 turnovers. Not bad for his first game/start.If this is what we’re rolling with until Leslie McDonald and PJ Hairston’s return then we’re ok with it.
  • The obvious story here is JP Tokoto’s increased role. In his first career start he logged a career high in minutes (30) and points (13). Look at that, jersey reference. Only 12 more games until Tokoto matches his total of games influenced from last season. He even overrode the 5 TOs by adding 5 assists and 4 steals. Maybe Air Tokoto is UNC’s answer as a defensive presence.
  • The Heels kept Travis Bader in check. Only 18 points. GOOD JOB!
  • What we wish could have happened: A better second half. We’ve seen this before. Once the Tar Heels took their foot off the pedal it was not pretty. One of our criticisms year in and year out is North Carolina’s inability to close out games. This is another example.

Superlatives

  • Player of the Game: James Michael McAdoo (21 pts, 9 rebs, 1 ast) This is in hopes of seeing this JMM all season.
  • Danny Green Award (Stat Stuffer): JP Tokoto (13 pts, 3 rebs, 5 asts, 4 stls) Again, even with 5 TOs that is quite a line.
  • Freshman of the Night: Kennedy Meeks (10 pts, 5 rebs, 2 asts) For starting a spirited text thread among the Rafters in the first half.