North Carolina

UNC’s Meeks: ‘Yao Ming got dunked on plenty of times and he just got his jersey retired’

UNC's Kennedy Meeks on Duke freshman Jayson Tatum's dunk in the last Duke-Carolina game

UNC senior forward Kennedy Meeks smiles and shrugs when asked how he will get revenge on Duke freshman forward Jayson Tatum for dunking on him.
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UNC senior forward Kennedy Meeks smiles and shrugs when asked how he will get revenge on Duke freshman forward Jayson Tatum for dunking on him.

If UNC senior forward Kennedy Meeks has a chance to get payback on Duke freshman forward Jayson Tatum for dunking on him, he has to capitalize on it, says North Carolina junior forward Theo Pinson.

In Duke’s win over UNC on Feb. 9, the 6-8, 205-pound Tatum drove past Pinson and met the 6-10, 260-pound Meeks at the rim. Meeks was late on his jump, and Tatum dunked on him with one hand. The crowd erupted.

For the Blue Devils, it was a pivotal moment early in the second half that helped them grab the momentum and beat the Tar Heels 86-78 in the rivals’ first matchup of the season.

A few plays after the dunk, Meeks gave Tatum a friendly pat on the head acknowledging what he had done.

“Hopefully if Tatum goes down the lane again, (Meeks) tries to block it again and then throw it out of bounds,” Pinson said. “So hopefully it’s a different story.”

Duke will play at UNC on Saturday at 8:20 p.m.

Senior forward Isaiah Hicks said Meeksknows what he has to do. And when the time comes he anticipates he’ll be ready.

“I think that kind of put a spark in him,” Hicks said.

When asked how he planned to get his revenge on Tatum, Meeks pondered the question, smiled and shrugged his shoulders.

“I don’t know man,” Meeks said. “Stuff happens, it’s a part of basketball.”

“Yao Ming got dunked on plenty of times and he just got his jersey retired,” Meeks added. “So he’ll be good.”

Jonathan M. Alexander: 919-829-4822, @jonmalexander

No. 17 Duke at No. 5 UNC

When: 8 p.m. Saturday

Where: Smith Center, Chapel Hill

TV: ESPN

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