CHAPEL HILL, NC (AP) Hubert Davis has said he wants to put his full attention on his team during a changing of the guard for North Carolina basketball.
He especially liked what he saw of the Tar Heels when he started coaching.
Caleb Love scored 22 points and the North Carolina No.19 led all the way, beating Maryland’s Loyola 83-67 on Tuesday night.
“My focus and focus was on the team,” Davis said.
Davis, a former North Carolina player, replaced Roy Williams who retired in April after spending seven seasons with Williams, and he recognized the attention he was receiving by returning to the legendary program.
“We definitely knew it deep inside,” said goaltender Kerwin Walton. “It’s going to be a new era. This is his time.
Said Love: “I’m happy for him and I’m happy for this team that we got the win.”
Williams watched from a front row seat near the tunnel where the Tar Heels rushed onto the pitch.
“It’s a big deal. It’s moving and it’s a change, ”said Davis. “Me, being in this role is different. I understand the impact of my position in this position.
The Tar Heels were motivated for their new coach.
“It was really intense. He was excited, super excited, ”Walton said. “I think when he got his first win it really got us going. I think it’s the first stepping stone for this year and also for his career as a head coach.
Brady Manek, a transfer graduate from Oklahoma, scored 20 points for the Tar Heels, who scored the game’s first nine points. Dawson Garcia, a transfer from Marquette, added 12 points and Walton scored 11 points.
Jaylin Andrews scored 17 points to lead Loyola. Cam Spencer had 15 points and Kenneth Jones scored 11 for the Greyhounds.
“We started to reduce the lead after this difficult start,” said Loyola coach Tavaras Hardy. “I was happy with the way we played after a difficult start. “
The Tar Heels led 45-31 at halftime, shooting 53.6% from the field.
The lead was increased to 72-51 when RJ Davis and Garcia connected on 3 consecutive points.
The result was sure to please Williams. The Tar Heels were aware of his presence.
“It was a little crazy when you think about it,” Walton said. “I certainly see him there. Just knowing that he likes the program and that he’s cheering us on.
Manek’s arrival gives the Tar Heels a new dimension as a threat from the inside out. He scored the first points of the game on a 3-pointer.
“It’s pretty special. I wanted to come to Carolina and produce and help the team, ”Manek said. “It’s always good to get rid of the nervousness of the first game. We still have a long way to go. “
North Carolina is 100-12 this season opener, winning its first game of a season for the 17th consecutive year.
Loyola: The Greyhounds lost their first game in all four seasons under Hardy. Last year, the team played a schedule only for the Patriot League, so this was the conference’s first stop since a loss on December 29, 2019 at Virginia Commonwealth.
“It’s a great experience,” Hardy said of his game at Chapel Hill. “But at the same time, our guys had high expectations for themselves.”
North Carolina: Davis said he wanted the Tar Heels to build a good defensive performance and there was a mix of results on that front. Loyola was held at 43.2 percent of shots from the field. North Carolina forced just 12 turnovers, six in each half.
Loyola: takes on South Carolina State on Friday in Charleston, SC in the Rising Coaches Classic.
North Carolina: Home Friday night against Brown.
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