GREENVILLE, S.C. (SWAC) – Texas Southern gave top-seeded North Carolina an initial wake up call, leading 10-8 in the early minutes of the game, before it was all Tar Heels from there as UNC went on pair of big runs and extended the lead to 25 by halftime.
North Carolina’s Justin Jackson made 5-of-6 from 3-point range in the opening half as UNC eventually went on to defeat No. 16 Texas Southern 103-64 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament’s South Region at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena.
The Tigers (23-12), winners of three of the previous four SWAC Championships under head coach Mike Davis, came out energized as Kevin Scott made a lay in, and followed it up with a 3-pointer.
Demontrae Jefferson came up with a steal and a dunk by Marvin Jones on a feed from Zach Lofton gave TSU a 7-6 lead.
UNC’s Kennedy Meeks made a bucket to give the Tar Heels the lead back, but Scott answered with a 3-pointer for TSU.
Jumpers by Jackson and Isaiah Hicks gave UNC (28-7) the lead for good at 12-10 with 15:49 remaining the first half.
Scott made 6-of-14 field goals and scored a team-high 19 points with five rebounds, three assists and a steal.
Jefferson scored 13 points while Jones finished with six points, five rebounds, two blocks and a steal.
Jackson had 21 points and seven rebounds while Hicks added 17 points and six rebounds for the Tar Heels, who will advance to play Arkansas in the second round on Sunday.