CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) – Armando Bacot had season highs of 22 points and 14 rebounds, fellow freshman Cole Anthony flirted with North Carolina’s first triple-double in 19 years and the fifth-ranked Tar Heels beat Elon 75-61 on Wednesday night.
Anthony finished with nine points, 10 rebounds and a season-high eight assists for North Carolina (4-0), which hasn’t had a player with a triple-double since Brendan Haywood and Jason Capel each did it 10 days apart in December 2000.
Garrison Brooks added 14 points for the Tar Heels – 30½-point favorites who a year ago beat Elon on the road by 49 points. They trailed at halftime for the second time this season before opening the second half with a Bacot-led 21-5 run that pushed the lead into double figures, and wound up outrebounding Elon 56-25.
Marcus Sheffield scored 19 points for the Phoenix (2-3), who lost their third straight – all to power-conference schools – while shooting 28% in the second half. Hunter Woods added 18 and his 3-pointer with 2½ minutes left pulled Elon to 68-61. Bacot followed with two buckets to re-establish the Tar Heels’ double-figure lead.
Elon: The Phoenix looked nothing like a team still chasing its first Division I victory of the season. Elon led 33-32 at halftime despite missing 13 of its final 15 shots of the first half – many of them wide-open looks – and the signature highlight might have been Sheffield’s posterizing, one-handed dunk on Justin Pierce midway through the half. Plenty of encouraging things in this one for first-year coach Mike Schrage – a former member of Mike Krzyzewski’s staff at Duke who was quite comfortable in the Smith Center’s visitors’ locker room.
North Carolina: The Tar Heels’ youth and inexperience was evident early in this one – noted time-out hoarder Roy Williams burned one 2 minutes, 9 seconds in after a particularly sloppy turnover. But they flipped the switch at halftime and took over with their electric point guard and freshman big man leading the way.
Elon: Plays host to Manhattan on Saturday.
North Carolina: Faces Alabama on Nov. 27 in its Battle 4 Atlantis opener in Paradise Island, Bahamas.