Tar Heels break Maui wins record

Kennedy Meeks of North Carolina attempts a shot against the defense of Chaminade’s Kiran Shastri (left) and Nate Pollard during the first half of the Tar Heels’ 104-61 win over the Silverswords on Monday. The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

LAHAINA — Things started reasonably well for Chaminade, but in the end North Carolina proved to be too much.

The Tar Heels, ranked fourth in the country by The Associated Press, beat the Silverswords 104-61 on Monday night at the Lahaina Civic Center in the final game of the first round of the Maui Jim Maui Invitational.

The Tar Heels (5-0) took advantage of their talent and height differentials to pull away from what was a four-point game with just over seven minutes left in the first half, and earned their 16th win in the tournament, breaking a tie with Duke for most in event history. The Blue Devils are 15-0 on Maui.

Isaiah Hicks, a 6-foot-9 senior, scored a career-high 22 points for North Carolina and Kennedy Meeks, a 6-10 senior, had 20 points and a game-high 10 rebounds.

“We’re bigger, we’re more gifted, we were really challenged by them early, but the size inside was probably the biggest factor,” said Tar Heels coach Roy Williams, whose team finished with a 52-23 rebounding advantage.

Nate Pollard goes up for a dunk for tournament-host Chaminade in the first half. The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

The Tar Heels, who are seeking their fourth Maui title, will play Oklahoma State in the semifinals today.

“We’ve got a big-time challenge,” Williams said. “I told them, ‘It’s the big leagues tomorrow because Oklahoma State was really, really impressive (in a victory over Connecticut earlier in the day).’ “

Meeks shot 7-for-7 from the field and Hicks was 8-for-13.

“Coach always tells us to go to our moves quick,” Meeks said. “If we do that, we won’t have to worry about triple- and double-teams.”

Hicks added: “If you don’t make quick moves, they were double-teaming from the baseline — coach said, ‘Look for your partner.’ A lot of times Kennedy or Tony (Bradley) or me was right there open.”

NORTH CAROLINA Tar Heels 71

The Silverswords (2-1) trailed 33-29 with 7:25 to go in the first half after Rohndell Goodwin’s long 3-pointer.

The Tar Heels, however, closed the half on a 17-5 run, and less than four minutes into the second half the lead had grown to 61-38.

“The size and strength was an overwhelming factor in the game,” said Chaminade coach Eric Bovaird, whose team fell to 7-88 in the tournament and will face UConn in a consolation game. “Rebounds were a major factor in the game, it doesn’t take any kind of rocket scientist to figure that out.”

* Robert Collias is at rcollias@mauinews.com.

NORTH CAROLINA (104)

CHAMINADE Silverswords 81

Hicks 8-13 6-8 22, Meeks 7-7 6-8 20, Jackson 5-10 0-0 12, Williams 3-6 0-0 7, Berry 3-8 0-0 8, Rohlman 0-0 0-0 0, Rush 0-0 1-2 1, Bradley 5-6 4-6 14, Britt 3-7 1-2 8, White 1-1 3-4 5, Woods 0-3 2-4 2, Robinson 2-3 0-0 5, Coker 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 37-64 23-34 104.

CHAMINADE (61)

Kuany 4-11 0-0 10, Shastri 5-9 0-0 13, Pope 3-8 5-6 12, Daly 0-3 2-3 2, Goodwin 7-13 1-2 18, Sakazaki 0-1 0-0 0, Southard 0-1 0-0 0, Pollard 1-4 0-1 2, Pu’ulei-Auld 0-1 0-0 0, Swain 0-1 0-0 0, Walker 1-4 0-0 3, Gilmore 0-1 0-0 0, Cartaino 0-1 1-2 1. Totals 21-58 9-14 61.

Halftime–North Carolina 50-34. 3-Point Goals–North Carolina 7-20 (Jackson 2-4, Berry 2-5, Robinson 1-2, Williams 1-3, Britt 1-4, Woods 0-2), Chaminade 10-28 (Goodwin 3-4, Shastri 3-7, Kuany 2-8, Pope 1-2, Walker 1-4, Daly 0-1, Sakazaki 0-1, Gilmore 0-1). Fouled Out–None. Rebounds–North Carolina 47 (Meeks 10), Chaminade 19 (Pope 5). Assists–North Carolina 18 (Robinson, Berry 4), Chaminade University 7 (Pope, Daly 2). Total Fouls–North Carolina 15, Chaminade 24. A–2,400 (2,400).

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