CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) – Freshman Cole Anthony had 34 points and 11 rebounds in his college debut, leading No. 9 North Carolina past Notre Dame 76-65 in their opener Wednesday night.
With his father – former UNLV and NBA guard Greg Anthony – in the stands, the Atlantic Coast Conference preseason freshman of the year broke Rashad McCants’ 17-year-old scoring record by a freshman in his first game and finished 12 of 24 from the field with six 3-pointers.
Anthony scored 15 points during a 29-13 second-half run that put the Tar Heels in control.
Prentiss Hubb scored a career-high 22 points, T.J. Gibbs added 19 and John Mooney finished with 10 for the Fighting Irish. They led 37-32 just under 2 minutes into the second half.
That’s when Anthony took over. He started the run with a runner, reeled off seven straight points for his team and hit three 3s in a 4-minute span, the last of which gave the Tar Heels their first double-figure lead at 61-50 with 9 minutes remaining.
Notre Dame: The Fighting Irish had never opened a season with a conference game – in any of their conferences – and this was a tough ask, though they did more than simply play the foil in Anthony’s debut. They built that second-half lead on Hubb’s shooting but couldn’t contain Anthony down the stretch.
North Carolina: Anthony certainly lived up to the hype, becoming the first UNC freshman with at least 30 points and 10 rebounds in a game since Tyler Hansbrough against Georgia Tech in 2006. He helped the Tar Heels reach a milestone – they earned their 700th ACC victory, the first program with that many wins in the conference.
Notre Dame: Hosts Robert Morris on Saturday.
North Carolina: Visits UNC Wilmington and former Tar Heels assistant C.B. McGrath on Friday night.