CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) - Freshman star Cole Anthony had 28 points to help sixth-ranked North Carolina beat Gardner-Webb 77-61 on Friday night.
Fellow freshman Armando Bacot posted his first double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds for the Tar Heels, who shot 50% after halftime to build a double-digit lead after leading just 30-27 at the break.
The improved second-half efficiency was a positive for North Carolina (3-0), which has leaned heavily on Anthony offensively while struggling to find consistent producers around him to start the season.
Anthony didn’t shoot particularly well for the second straight game (7 of 17). But he hit a huge 3-pointer over Nate Johnson to beat the shot clock at the 5:48 mark to put UNC up 10, one of several sequences that helped the Tar Heels keep the Runnin’ Bulldogs at arm’s distance through the final 10 minutes.
Anthony, who had 34 points in the season-opening win against Notre Dame for an Atlantic Coast Conference record for a freshman debut, also made 11 of 13 free throws.
Jose Perez scored 12 points for Gardner-Webb, which shot 37% and made 5 of 23 3-pointers.