CHAPEL HILL, N.C., Sporting Alert — Joel Berry II continues to lead from the front for North Carolina.
The junior guard tied his career high with 23 points on 7 of 10 shooting, pulled down six rebounds and dished out four assists and the No. 5 Tar Heels beat Long Beach State 93-67 on Tuesday night.
“I am just getting more shot opportunities. I am just trying to shoot it and make it this time and that’s always my thought process,” Berry said.
“I am just trying to take open shots and not try to force anything or play on the outside of my game.
“I am just trying to do what I got to do to help this team win and if that’s knocking down shots, you know I am capable of doing that.”
It was the third time this season UNC was scoring over 90 points, after getting 95 and 97 in the previous two games.
Kennedy Meeks added 15 points and seven rebounds, Justin Jackson finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds for North Carolina (3-0), which led by as many as 23 points by halftime.
Tony Bradley ended with 10 points and five boards for the Tar Heels, who shot 53.3-percent and outrebounded Long Beach State 45-33.
“That first 10 minutes of the second half … that was about as bad offensively as I’ve seen us in 31 practices and three games and one exhibition,” said North Carolina head coach Roy Williams.
“Joel Berry II was really good – seven for ten from the floor, 23 points, six rebounds, four assists, one turnover.
“Didn’t like him getting the two fouls in the first half. Had to manage because he had two, Tony [Bradley] had two, Isaiah [Hicks] had two and tried to get to halftime with everybody just having two, and that got some other guys some minutes, but it was good.”
Gabe Levin led the way for the 49ers with 17 points and 10 rebounds, while Jordan Griffin added 11 points off the bench.
North Carolina scored the first 14 points of the game and led 50-23 at halftime after shooting 59.4-percent in the opening period.
Despite losing by 26 points, Long Beach State (1-2) gave a better account of itself in the second half scoring 40 points.
UNC’s next fixture is against Hawaii on Friday before turning its attention to the Maui Invitational over the Thanksgiving holiday.
Long Beach State will be at No. 12 Louisville on Thursday.
NOTE: Tar Heels coach Roy Williams collected win number 995th as a college head coach.