RMU can’t overcome North Carolina’s size in blowout loss
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Robert Morris’ task was tough enough given the size and depth of North Carolina’s talented front court.
The Colonials only made things more difficult on themselves by getting into foul trouble and spotting their sixth-ranked opponent a quick head start.
The Tar Heels scored the game’s first 12 points and exploited the low post tandem of Brice Johnson and Kennedy Meeks on their way to a 103-59 victory Sunday at the Dean E. Smith Center.
“That’s the hardest part,” RMU coach Andy Toole said after watching his team drop to 0-2.
“You come into this kind of atmosphere, playing someone of that size and difficulty, then they jump on you 12 to nothing.”
Toole said he knew his team might be in trouble from the opening possession, when the 6-foot-9, 270-pound Meeks muscled his way in for an offensive rebound and was fouled by 215-pound Stephan Bennett.
Meeks had four three-point play opportunities on his way to 21 points and 12 rebounds. UNC’s other big man, Johnson, finished with 23 points and eight rebounds as the pair combined to make 16 of their 22 shots from the floor.
“That first offensive rebound that they got,” Toole said. “It’s like one of the 50-50 balls that all of a sudden, if you get a rebound, you think to yourself ‘If we can get that stop we can settle in and at least feel good about ourselves.’ But it went their ball. We had three fouls on that possession and they get a three-point play. It’s a pretty deflating situation.”
One Colonial who got into early foul trouble was senior forward Lucky Jones. A preseason All-NEC selection, Jones was limited to 19 minutes. He didn’t take a shot until early in the second half and finished with only six points and six turnovers.
Despite Jones’ struggles and the lopsided defeat, the trip into the heart of Tobacco Road wasn’t a total loss for the Colonials thanks to the play of freshman Marcquise Reed.
The 6-3 guard had a soft perimeter touch on his way to a game-high 24 points in just 24 minutes.
Brett Friedlander is a freelance writer.