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Off the cuff: Carolina defeated the Quakers by 35 points last year but Penn is expected to be better this season with six of its first seven players back and being picked second in the Ivy League.

Bernardini scored 26 against the Heels this year and last year. Both are career highs.

Zeller doesn't look 7-foot, nor does he play 7-foot - he's much more athletic than most guys that size. I like his demeanor and his confidence. He really slams the ball in with authority on dunks. And his 15-footer from the baseline were the Heels' first points of the season.

With Hansbrough, Ginyard and Frasor ailing, the starting five consisted of Lawson, Ellington, Green, Thompson and Zeller. I was only the second time that Green has started a game - and to think he almost went to the NBA. Frasor, who was the top backup at point guard the last couple of years, played at No. 2 guard when he and freshman Larry Drew were on the court at the same time. So, it appears that Drew may be or become the top backup at point behind Lawson. That's probably fine with Frasor who could see more shots as a result.

Even though Penn made a little run late in the game, I thought the game was over after Green tipped a steal to Lawson, who passed ahead to Ellington for a fastbreak bucket that made it 71-52.

That "Jump Around" music and dancing before the opening tip is getting old. If I were watching a college basketball game for the first time, I'd probably root for the team that didn't do that. I hope the "Jump Around" doesn't stay as long as the long pants have stayed. At least get the pants above the knees. Maybe that's why Zeller doesn't look 7-foot.

It was frustrating to have the football game and the basketball game on at the same time. It just goes to show how much power TV has. I miss the days when TV had to rush back to see play start and when they were just there covering the event, not orchestrating it. Carolina's depth is great but with TV timeouts every four minutes, most teams should be able to get enough breathers. Bill Friday, can't you do something about TV's big britches?

Heels 86, Quakers 71
Shorthanded Carolina gets big game from freshmen

Penn played No. 1 North Carolina even for most of the game but a 15-5 run to end the first half put the Heels up by 15 and that was the final difference as UNC defeated the Quakers 86-71 in the season opener in Chapel Hill. (11/15)

The Tar Heels, playing without injured starters Tyler Hansbrough and Marcus Ginyard, got double figure scoring from six players including two freshmen. Tyler Zeller, the 7-foot freshman, filled in well for Hansbrough (offensively at least) as he led the Heels in scoring with 18 points and freshman Ed Davis scored 10 points and hauled in 14 rebounds.

Last season, Carolina never had more than five players in double figures. The other four who scored in double figures were Deon Thompson, who tallied 17, Wayne Ellington, who scored 13, Danny Green, who got 12, and Ty Lawson, who finished with 12.

Tyler Bernardini kept the Quakers in the game with a career-tying-high of 26 points, most from beyond the three-point line. But Carolina opened up a close game just before halftime. Up by five, Thompson scored, Green drove the lane for a lay-in and Zeller connected on a free throw to give the Heels their first double-figure lead at 38-28.

A Zeller fast break bucket on a feed from Green gave Carolina a 16-point lead at 45-29 and a Thompson dunk gave the Heels their largest lead of the half at 48-31.

The Heels extended their 48-33 halftime lead early in the second half. Lawson sank a three pointer from the corner for his first points of the game, which gave the Heels their largest lead of the game at 57-37. The lead stayed at 15 to 18 points for most of the second half.

However, Bernardini and Jack Eggleston dropped in threes with less than five minutes to play to quickly cut the lead from 16 to 10 at 76-66.

But that's as close as it got as the Heels outscored the Quakers 10-5 the rest of the way with seven of the points coming from Zeller.

Coach Roy Williams praised Zeller for his 5 of 8 field goal shooting and 8 of 10 free throw shooting but he noted that Zeller got zero defensive rebounds. Of course Davis was hogging all the rebounds with 14, which Williams praised but he noted that Davis turned the ball over four times and picked up no assists.

"The first game is not going to be perfect," Williams said. "We had some good shots but we didn't make them."

Williams noted that the Heels weren't very patient against the Quakers zone defense and hoisted up some early threes. Carolina hit seven of 22 three pointers. Five of the Heels' first seven shots and seven of their first 15 shots taken were from three-point range. On a positive note, most of the shots were open.

Ellington was only two of seven from behind the arc and only five of 15 from the field overall. "Ellington has been shooting fantastic," Williams said. "So he is not going to go five of 15 every game. Their style is tough to play against." The Heels finished with a 47-percent shooting average overall.

Hansbrough was in street clothes but has been practicing. Williams said they are being conservative with him so it's not certain if he will be back for the Kentucky game Tuesday night. Ginyard is out until mid-to-late December and Frasor is playing with a hurt ankle. Mike Copeland is also out with lingering injuries.

The Tar Heels, who are beginning their 99th basketball season, are now 92-7 in home openers.

Check ouy a game photo gallery and the game box score.
Check out the other game articles.
Read my Tar Heels' season preview on by clicking here.

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