UNC vs.  James Madison Preview

UNC vs. James Madison Preview

No. 1 North Carolina (3-0) vs. James Madison (4-0)

Chapel Hill, NC—Smith Center

Sunday, Nov. 20 — Noon

ACC Network ((Mike Monaco, Dan Bonner)


“I don’t think it’s a red flag at all. I don’t think there’s a red flag in terms of our team. I think there’s some yellow flags. I think there’s some yellow flags in terms of our toughness. I think there’s yellow flags in terms of our sustained effort. I think there’s some yellow flags in terms of our commitment to defense. I think there are some yellow flags in terms of our commitment to the scouting report and doing the things that you’ve been asked to do. I think there’s some yellow flags in terms of getting to the offensive glass. I think there’s some yellow flags in terms of sharing the basketball, in terms of good to great. I don’t think there’s any red flags, but there’s a number of areas where there are some yellow flags that need to be changed and will be changed.” — UNC coach Hubert Davis, after the Tar Heels led Gardner-Webb by 16 points in the second half Tuesday night, but had to hold on for a 72-66 victory.

“It’s going to take time and as he gets more and more comfortable, he’s going to definitely play into that role like he did. I’m proud of him. He took that next step and it’s the beginning of what Pete can do.” — UNC guard Caleb Love, on teammate Pete Nance’s breakout 18-point effort against Gardner-Webb.

Pregame Notes

Looking to Rebound: Top-ranked North Carolina closes out its four-game homestand to start the season Sunday, and certainly would welcome a return to normalcy on the boards. The Tar Heels uncharacteristically have been out-rebounded (minus-6 deferential) through their first three games. UNCW (37-32) and College of Charleston (35-32) grabbed more boards than UNC, before the Tar Heels edged Gardner-Webb 40-38 on the glass.

Last season, UNC ranked No. 1 in the ACC in rebounding and sixth nationally, with Armando Bacot’s 13.1 rebounds per game registering as the third-highest average in college basketball. Bacot hauled in the fourth-most total rebounds in ACC history (511) and the second-most in NCAA Tournament history (99) last season, but has yet to hit double digits this season. RJ Davis collected 10 rebounds to lead UNC in that category against Gardner-Webb, the first time in three seasons the 6-foot junior has topped the Tar Heels in rebounding.

Milestone Watch: The junior Love has scored 988 career points and needs 12 more to become that 80th player in UNC history with 1,000 career points. The Tar Heels have had an NCAA-record 79 players reach the 1,000-point mark for their careers, including the senior power forward Bacot, who hit that plateau in January of last season.

Earlier this week, North Carolina improved to 17-0 when Love scores 20 or more points. He supplied 17 second-half points against Gardner-Webb and finished with 20. He leads UNC in scoring at 20.7 points per game on the season, though he has connected on just 4-for-21 (19.1 percent) from 3-point range .

Promising for Pete Nance: The graduate transfer from Northwestern attempted just two shots during the second half against Gardner-Webb and crowded out in the game’s final four minutes, but he already had delivered his best performance so far with the Tar Heels. Nance produced season highs in scoring (18 points), rebounds (five) and 3-point makes (three), and tied his season best with three blocked shots.

Tuesday night brought a fast start for the 6-foot-11 forward, who had six points against UNCW in the season opener and seven points against College of Charleston. Nance pumped in 14 of UNC’s first 18 points against Gardner-Webb. He walked into an open 3-point look that he buried, and on the next trip, stroked in a fade-away jumper from the baseline over Runnin’ Bulldogs forward Kareem Reid, who fouled Nance on the shot. The ensuing free throw put UNC ahead 18-8 in the game’s opening 10½ minutes.

UNC guard RJ Davis and JMU guard Vado Morse. (Photo: Inside Carolina/JMU Athletics)

Dukes on Fire: As of early Saturday afternoon, James Madison’s eye-popping 105.2 points per game is the second-highest scoring clip in the nation. Coach Mark Byington’s red-hot Dukes annihilated Division III program Valley Forge 123-38 to open the new season, and have since hung 106 points on Hampton, 97 points on Buffalo, and 95 points on Howard, while winning those matchups against the three Division I opponents by an average margin of 36.3 points per game.

JMU is shooting 58.6 percent from the field, including 54.1 percent (46-for-85) from beyond the 3-point arc, on the season. The Dukes have piled up a plus-18.3 average rebounding margin and forced 22.5 turnovers per game.

Scoring Sources: JMU’s lineup features six players averaging 8 points per game or more on the young season. Senior guard Vado Morse, a second-team All-CAA selection last season, leads the way with 15.8 points per game. He went 5-for-7 from 3-point territory and supplied 17 points on Tuesday night in the Dukes’ 95-69 rout of Howard. Morse pumped in 22 points during JMU’s 97-62 blowout of Buffalo.

JMU has changed leagues and joined the Sun Belt. Terrence Edwards (13.5 points per game), Takal Molson (13.5 points per game) and Noah Freidel (12.5 points per game) also are scoring in double figures for the Dukes. Molson is a two-time transfer from Seton Hall and Canisius, while Freidel is a South Dakota State transfer. Both won Rookie of the Year honors in their former conferences, Molson in the MAAC (at Canisius) and Freidel in the Summit League.

Last Meeting: North Carolina defeated James Madison 80-79 on Nov. 24, 1989, in the Maui Invitational. Kevin Madden’s 19 points and Rick Fox’s 18 points led five Tar Heels in double tricks.

UNC trailed coach Lefty Driesell’s Dukes 79-70 with less than a minute remaining. An offensive rebound put-back by Fox and a steal and 3-pointer by Hubert Davis cut the deficit to four with 48 seconds left. Pete Chilcutt canned a 3 to pull within one with 10 seconds to go. JMU turned the ball over on the next possession, and King Rice hit an off-balance runner from the top of the key that banked in to lift the Tar Heels at the buzzer.

Series History: UNC leads the all-time series 3-0, which includes two wins in NCAA Tournament play and the other in the Maui Invitational. All three of the previous games between these teams have been played at neutral sites, though the NCAA Tournament matchups were held in Raleigh (1982) and Greensboro (1983).

Projected UNC Starters:

1 Leaky Black (Gr., 6-9, 205) — 9.7 ppg, 5.3 rpg

2 Caleb Love (Jr., 6-4, 200) — 20.7 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 3.3 apg

4 RJ Davis (Jr., 6-0, 175) — 14 ppg, 5.7 rpg

5 Armando Bacot (Sr., 6-11, 235) — 18 ppg, 8 rpg

32 Pete Nance (Gr., 6-11, 230) — 10.3 ppg, 3 rpg, 2.3 bpg

Projected JMU Starters:

4 Vado Morse (Sr., 6-0, 170) — 15.8 ppg, 3.8 apg

5 Terrence Edwards (So., 6-6, 190) — 13.5 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 3.8 apg

11 Justin Amadi (So., 6-7, 220) — 7.8 ppg, 4 rpg

13 Mezie Offurum (Gr., 6-8, 230) — 9.5 ppg, 5.3 rpg

15 Takal Molson (Gr., 6-4, 210) — 13.5 ppg, 3.5 rpg

UNC Info


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JMU Info


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