Charlotte, NC (SportsNetwork.com) - The sixth-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels will venture outside of their own arena for the first time this season, as they take on the Davidson Wildcats in non-conference action at the Time Warner Cable Arena on Saturday afternoon.
Roy Williams' Tar Heels entered the 2014-15 season with a great deal of hype, thanks in large part to a savvy point guard and a ultra-talented recruiting class. UNC has done little to disappoint in the early stages of the campaign, making light work of both NC Central (76-60) and Robert Morris (103-59) thus far.
Bob McKillops' Wildcats are also making their first trek outside Belk Arena, as they opened their season with lopsided home wins over Catholic (102-66) and Campbell (86-51). Davidson serves as the host in this game, with this marking the sixth time the team has done so in Charlotte. All five previous matchups were also against members of the ACC, with Davidson sporting a 1-4 record in such games.
These two instate rivals are very familiar with one another, as UNC holds a 62-11 edge in this longtime series. North Carolina has won four straight meetings.
The Tar Heels shot .545 from the floor in the first half against Robert Morris and took a 53-35 lead into halftime, before cruising to a 44-point win last time out. The frontcourt duo of Brice Johnson and Kennedy Meeks was just too much for Robert Morris to handle, as the pair combined for 44 points in the win. Johnson was 10-of-15 from the floor and led the team with 23 points. Meeks was 6-of-7 from the floor and 9-of-14 from the free-throw line to finish with 21 points. Meeks completed a double-double with a game-high 12 rebounds. Point guard Marcus Paige added 15 points to the cause, while forward Justin Jackson tacked on 13 for UNC, which doled out a whopping 29 assists in the game and held a 49-31 edge in rebounding.
It's a small sample size, but UNC has looked strong at both ends of the floor this season, shooting .477 overall, while limiting foes to a mere .342 performance. Four of the team's five starters are averaging double-digit scoring through two games, led by Johnson's 17.5 ppg. Meeks is a close second at 15.5 ppg and is tops on the team in rebounding (10.5 rpg). Paige and Jackson complete a potent quartet with 11.5 and 11.0 ppg, respectively.
Davidson was on target in its lopsided win over Campbell earlier in the week, as the Wildcats converted 56.3 percent of their shots and knocked down 10 3- pointers in the win. Jake Belford led the way with a career-high 20 points,, shooting 9-of-12 from the floor. Jordan Barham led the way in a productive effort from the bench, as he tallied 14 of the bench's 40 points on the night.
Once again, there has only been a couple of games to go on, but Davidson has started the season showing a great deal of offensive promise. The team is boasting of a +35.5 scoring margin and is averaging a robust 94.0 ppg on .535 shooting. Scoring depth has been apparent with five Wildcats currently in double figures led by Tyler Kalinoski and Oskar Michelsen's 13.5 ppg apiece. Belford and Barham are next in line at 12.0 ppg each, followed closely by Jack Gibbs (11.0 ppg).