UNC's bigs finally get Williams' message, blow by Robert Morris
For one night, Brice Johnson and Kennedy Meeks gave North Carolina the inside scoring and rebounding that coach Roy Williams wants to see.
Johnson scored 23 points while Meeks had 21 to help the sixth-ranked Tar Heels beat Robert Morris 103-59 on Sunday, though the trick now is for both players to keep doing it consistently.
"I've been hearing it for three years, Kennedy's been hearing it for two," Johnson said. "It's just something (Williams) always says: he wants two post players to be out there, and me and Kennedy were those guys tonight."
Marcus Paige added 15 for the Tar Heels (2-0), who scored the first 12 points, led by 18 at halftime then ran off the first 11 after the break to blow the game open.
The Tar Heels shot 51 percent while doing a better job of pushing the tempo and attacking a zone defense than in Friday's season-opening win against North Carolina Central.
Freshman Marcquise Reed scored 18 of his 24 points in the first half for the Colonials (0-2), who had no way to slow the Tar Heels once they got rolling.
That was particularly true of Johnson and Meeks. Johnson had 15 by halftime and finished 10-for-15 from the field with eight rebounds, while Meeks also had 15 by halftime and finished 6-for-7 from the field, 9-for-14 from the foul line and had 12 rebounds.
"I thought last year those guys had some good games, some really good games, every now and then," Williams said. "But it's got to be on a consistent basis like Tyler Zeller, John Henson, Tyler Hansbrough, Sean May. Those guys give it you every night."
Reed was the only player to find a rhythm for Robert Morris, which returns three starters from last year's Northeast Conference regular-season championship team.
Preseason all-conference pick Lucky Jones was scoreless without a shot attempt in the opening half and finished with six points before fouling out with 5:50 left.
"They just put so much pressure on you with their athleticism, with their size, with the way they were pounding the ball into the paint," coach Andrew Toole said. "We have good basketball players so they settle in and say, `OK, this is basketball.' Unfortunately you're down 12-0 at that point and you're swimming upstream."
Robert Morris: The Colonials had never faced the Tar Heels before. ... This started a stretch of five games away from home. ... Robert Morris shot just 28 percent after halftime and 36 percent for the game.
North Carolina: J.P. Tokoto had a career-high seven assists by halftime and finished with 10, more than any UNC player had last year. ... UNC took a 49-31 rebounding advantage, scored 20 second-chance points and 24 points off turnovers. ... The Tar Heels hit 27 of 36 free throws (75 percent).
REED'S BIG NIGHT
Reed, a 6-foot-3 guard, finished 10-for-15 off the bench in his first college road game. "Like I tell him all the time," Toole said, "as soon as he continues to grasp the defensive side of the floor, he's going to have even more opportunity to continue to do those things."
A GOOD START
UNC freshman Justin Jackson added 13 points in his second straight start. He had nine points in Friday's opener and shot 10-for-17 (59 percent) in the two games.
SHARING THE BALL
North Carolina had 29 assists on 36 field goals, led by Tokoto's sharp passing against the zone. UNC's starters combined for 20 assists and two turnovers.
Robert Morris travels to Bradley on Wednesday.
North Carolina plays Davidson in Charlotte on Saturday.