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North Carolina wins only exhibition, looks forward to opener

Roy Williams

North Carolina head coach Roy Williams laughs as he answers questions during a news conference, Saturday, March 24, 2012, in St. Louis. North Carolina is scheduled to play Kansas in an NCAA tournament Midwest Regional final college basketball game on Sunday. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

AP

Roy Williams’ North Carolina Tar Heels will begin the season just outside the Top 10 and after their 81-54 exhibition win over D-II Shaw Friday night, they are looking forward to their season opener in less than two weeks.

The Tar Heels started off slow, beginning the game 3-of-13 from the floor and even trailing early in the second half, but a 23-0 run allowed UNC to roar back and take the lead and close out the 27-point victory.

“I thought it was a really good night for us,” Williams said in a statement. “I even liked it when they took the lead there because those are the kinds of things that we’re going to face all year, so I liked the way our guys responded.

“We didn’t shoot the ball very well. I said that last year we were going to be a really good shooting team, and I think this is a team that’s going to be even better than that.”

Williams’ team is tasked this season with replacing four first-round NBA draft picks—Kendall Marshall, John Henson, Tyler Zeller, and Harrison Barnes—and made to do so with the help of four-man recruiting class.

One of those freshman, 6-10, 260-pound Joel James, helped UNC to a win Friday night with 13 points and seven rebounds. James was a top-75 recruit in the Class of 2012.

Many expect North Carolina to have a breakout star 2012-13, James Michael McAdoo, who played well with 16 points and eight rebounds.

The Tar Heels open their season Nov. 9 against Gardner-Webb.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_