North Carolina goes for sixth in row vs. Wofford
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — North Carolina is making the most out of its pre-ACC schedule, and Wednesday night’s opponent has been doing its own good work during the past month.
The No. 5 Tar Heels tangle with visiting Wofford at the Smith Center.
North Carolina is coming off a 78-73 escape Sunday at Tennessee.
“They have confidence,” Tar Heels coach Roy Williams said of his players. “They have to believe that if they do the right things it will work. I think the confidence is always big.”
It hasn’t always been smooth for the Tar Heels, but that’s one of the reasons why the strong start to the season has been rewarding. Williams said for the most part the team has followed the plan.
“I think the guys really believe that they are going to be there at the end if they just keep grinding it out,” he said. “I think they feel confident that they will have a chance.”
North Carolina (10-1) wiped out a nine-point, second-half deficit to overcome Tennessee and push its winning streak to five games.
This is the sixth time in the 15 seasons under Williams that the Tar Heels have won at least 10 of their first 11 games.
Wofford (7-4), a Southern Conference member, has been on a roll as well. The Terriers arrive with a four-game winning streak, which includes a 63-60 home victory against ACC member Georgia Tech.
Wofford’s most recent game came with Sunday’s neutral-court toppling of High Point at Asheville, N.C.
“With only one non-conference game left until we start conference play, I really like how things are coming together and how we’re setting up going forward,” Wofford coach Mike Young said.
In the High Point game, Wofford didn’t allow an offensive rebound. Repeating that will be difficult, particularly if North Carolina freshmen post players Garrison Brooks and Sterling Manley continue to develop. That duo combined for nine offensive rebounds in the Tennessee game.
“Rebounding has been a little bit of an Achilles heel for us early on,” Young said. “Needless to say, we put an emphasis on it — being more physical and tougher on the glass.” `
North Carolina holds a plus-13.1 rebounding margin.
Junior guard Fletcher Magee leads Wofford with 24.1 points per game. He has reached the 20-point mark in five consecutive games, including a season-high 36 points against Georgia Tech.
North Carolina’s perimeter defense could be tested because the Terriers are averaging 11 3-point baskets. The Tar Heels have given up nearly that many (10.7) each outing.
Luke Maye, a junior forward, is North Carolina’s top scorer at 19.5 points per game.
Tar Heels guard Joel Berry’s 197 career 3-point baskets have him tied for seventh in school history with current assistant coach Hubert Davis.
North Carolina has won all three previous meetings against Wofford, though the teams have met once since 1926. That came in 2015, when the Tar Heels were ranked No. 1.
North Carolina is aiming to complete the nonconference portion of its home schedule with a 6-0 record. The Tar Heels have won their last 22 nonleague home games.