Heels bounce back for exhibition win

North Carolina pummeled the Bahamas All-Stars 109-52 on Saturday, concluding its participation in the Summer of Thunder tournament in Nassau, Bahamas.

The Tar Heels were never really challenged from the opening tip, making 15 of their first 19 attempts from the floor as they led 32-12 after the first quarter.

Sophomore forward Isaiah Hicks led the Heels in scoring for a second straight game with 19 points. Freshman forward Justin Jackson added 16 and senior center Desmond Hubert rounded out the scorers in double figures with 12.

“Our guys knew we played poorly [on Friday] and they came out with much better focus,” coach Roy Williams said. “We didn’t finish [Friday] night the way we wanted to, but [Saturday] we were much more in tune with what we wanted to do. We were much better defending on the ball, were more unselfish with the ball, and our shots went in the basket, which was also a product of better passing.”

Williams again tinkered with lineup combinations, starting Theo Pinson and Hubert instead of Nate Britt and Kennedy Meeks. Brice Johnson, who played just seven minutes due to a sprained ankle in the Heels loss’ on Friday to the Providence Storm, was back in the starting lineup. But Williams limited his minutes for precautionary reasons.

Carolina shot 61 percent from the floor and even improved from its dismal performance on Friday.

The Heels had a hard time adjusting to the FIBA 3-point distance that measures 22.15 feet from front to center and 21.65 feet in the corner (the NCAA 3-point line is 20.75 feet). On Friday they shot a dismal 3 of 25 from 3-point range.

But they were much better from long range on Saturday. Marcus Paige scored all nine of his points while connecting on all three of his attempts behind the arc. Four other players had one each as the Heels shot 7 of 13 from distance.