Long Beach, CA – The 11th-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels leave Chapel Hill for an extended five-game road trip starting with a showdown with the Long Beach State 49ers at the Walter Pyramid.
Roy Williams may have a new cast of characters to work with this season, but the early returns are in and North Carolina certainly looks like a team to be reckoned with. UNC opened its season with a 76-59 win over Gardner-Webb and then played host to the Florida Atlantic Owls in regional action of the Maui Invitational, posting an 80-56 rout last weekend. Following this game, North Carolina will head to Hawaii to conclude play in the Maui Invitational, prior to a showdown with top-ranked Indiana in Bloomington.
The 49ers are a powerhouse in the Big West Conference and one of the favorites to win the league title this season. Long Beach State opened the 2012-13 season with a 75-65 win over North Alabama, followed by a 62-44 loss at USC.
This is the third time these two teams have met on the hardwood. North Carolina has won both previous matchups, including a thrilling 96-91 shootout in Chapel Hill two years ago.
The season is only two games in, but it is clear that the North Carolina offense is going to run through James Michael McAdoo. The sophomore forward has recorded two double-doubles to kick-start his season, including 19 points and 11 rebounds in the win over Florida Atlantic. The Tar Heels got off to a slow start against the Owls, but turned it on in the second half, converting 54.5 percent from the floor to run away with the game. Joining McAdoo in double figures were sophomore Desmond Hubert (16 pts) and freshmen Brice Johnson (12 pts) and Joel James (11 pts). McAdoo has been a beast through two games at 22.5 points and 12.5 rebounds per outing. Junior Reggie Bullock adds 10.5 points and 6.0 rebounds to the cause, while three others - Johnson (9.0 ppg), Dexter Strickland (8.5 ppg) and James (8.5 ppg) have produced early on as well.
The 49ers received 17 points from sophomore Mike Caffey and 13 points from senior James Ennis, but it wasn't enough in a lopsided loss at USC this week. LBSU was able to keep things relatively close in the first half, but struggled in the second half, converting just 5-of-23 shots from the floor (.217) en route to the setback. The 49ers have had a tough time generating offense through the first week of the season, netting just 59.5 points per game on .382 shooting. Ennis has been the top performer, scoring 16.0 points per game. Caffey has scored 13 points in each contest, but there has been little in terms of scoring from the rest of the roster.