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North Carolina destroys Wake Forest in Winston-Salem 95-57

UNC’s Roy Williams: ‘We caught Wake Forest on a good day for us and a bad day for them’

Roy Williams addresses the media following the Tar Heels' win over Wake Forest
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Roy Williams addresses the media following the Tar Heels' win over Wake Forest

Well, that didn’t take long.

North Carolina made easy work of Wake Forest on Saturday, storming out to an 18-0 lead in the first six minutes of the game. The Tar Heels led by as many as 28 points in the first half and defeated the Demon Deacons 95-57. It was the most lopsided loss for Wake Forest at Joel Coliseum in almost three decades.

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North Carolina coach Roy Williams and the Tar Heels’ bench applaud the starters performance during the first half against Wake Forest on Saturday, February 16, 2019 at Lawrence Joel Coliseum in Winston-Salem, N.C. Robert Willett rwillett@newsobserver.com

The eighth-ranked Tar Heels (20-5, 10-2) were coming off a disappointing 69-61 loss to No. 4 Virginia on Monday and wanted to put on a show against the Demon Deacons.

Mission accomplished.

The Tar Heels shot 74 percent from the floor in the first half, while holding the Demon Deacons to 21 percent, and led 49-21 at halftime. The only thing bad thing for the Tar Heels was that they turned it over.

“We caught Wake Forest on a good day for us and a bad day for them,” UNC coach Roy Williams said.

Graduate senior Cam Johnson, who twisted his ankle on Monday, looked fine. He started the game on fire, making his first eight shots and finished with 27 points. He was 10-for-13 from the floor and 7-for-10 from behind the 3-point line.

UNC graduate senior Cam Johnson talks about UNC's 95-57 win against Wake Forest on Saturday. Johnson had seven 3-pointers.

Freshman guard Coby White, whose birthday was Saturday, scored 10 points, had 6 assists and grabbed 5 rebounds.

“We had a lot of guys contribute, which was big,” UNC senior forward Luke Maye, who had 10 points and seven rebounds, said. “We really did some good things defensively. We allowed a little too much dribble penetration there at the end, but I thought overall it was a good team win for us.”

The Tar Heels are 6-0 in ACC road games and remain second in the ACC standings.

Meanwhile, the Demon Deacons continue to struggle. They have lost seven of their last eight games and rank among the bottom teams in the ACC. Junior point guard Brandon Childress, Wake Forest’s leading scorer, missed all 12 of his shots and finished with zero points and six turnovers.

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North Carolina’s Nassir Little (5) goes after a defensive rebound over Wake Forest’s Michael Wynn (20) during the first half on Saturday, February 16, 2019 at Lawrence Joel Coliseum in Winston-Salem, N.C. Robert Willett rwillett@newsobserver.com

In didn’t get much better for Wake Forest (9-15, 2-10) in the second half. UNC continued its surge. By the 12-minute mark, the Tar Heels increased their lead to 34 points after UNC sophomore reserve guard Andrew Platek knocked down an open 3-pointer.

The Tar Heels finished 16 of 25 from behind the 3-point line.

“I’ve said all the time, we’ve got good shooters, we just need to make them in the games,” Williams said.

UNC freshman wing Nassir Little, who was a game-time decision on Saturday after spraining his ankle on Monday, played 11 minutes in the first half. He had five points and one rebound but did not return to the bench in the second half.

Williams said Little was fine after the game. He said he got hit in the chest.

The Tar Heels are dealing with a number of lingering injuries before their game against No. 2 Duke on Wednesday. Along with Little’s and Johnson’s ankles, junior wing Brandon Robinson wore a brace on his knee, Kenny Williams banged his left knee in the game, Sterling Manley has a sore knee, and Leaky Black is still recovering from his ankle injury. Still, the Tar Heels managed to get by against Wake Forest.

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North Carolina’s Cameron Johnson (13) and Coby White (2) cheer on the reserve players during the closing minutes of play against Wake Forest on Saturday, February 16, 2019 at Lawrence Joel Coliseum in Winston-Salem, N.C. Johnson lead all scores with 27 points in the Tar Heels’ 95-57 victory. Robert Willett rwillett@newsobserver.com

With six minutes left, Roy Williams emptied his bench. Even UNC sophomore forward Walker Miller, K.J. Smith and Shea Rush scored.

The game wasn’t close.

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Jonathan M. Alexander has been covering the North Carolina Tar Heels since May 2018. He previously covered Duke basketball and recruiting in the ACC. He is an alumnus of N.C. Central University.


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