Cole Anthony took off the glasses, and then the gloves.
Why did Carolina’s obviously super freshman come out to warm up and start the game with glasses that made him look more like a student than an athlete? Were they prescription lenses? Is his vision slightly off? Or did his father — Greg, who was in attendance — once tell him what happened to Clark Kent when he took his glasses off in a phone booth?
What drama No. 2 caused after his No. 1 game in what will be his first and only season as a Tar Heel. He talked about his depth perception lately, and that he practiced the last few days with glasses after shooting poorly in the exhibition win Friday night.
After ditching the specs, Anthony finished with up a double-double of 34 points and 11 rebounds, plus five assists, surpassing any freshman or player in his first game at UNC. Anthony pooh-poohed his own performance, for a point guard yet (yikes), and thanked everyone from his teammates who didn’t do that well to students who did in the risers.
Anthony finally got hot after three halves of not shooting the ball great, blowing open the game in the second half for what turned out to be an easy, and somewhat surprising, victory over Notre Dame. He had 15 points in the second-half surge that made the far younger home team look way better than the Irish, who started four seniors.
Roy Williams said he doesn’t expect his super freshman to carry the load the way Anthony did. Garrison Brooks was the only other Tar Heel in double figures, and the junior forward got there with two minutes left in the game by scoring his ninth and tenth points to go with his nine rebounds and three block shots in 39 minutes.
Junior sub Andrew Platek filled in nicely for injured B-Rob by scoring eight points and canning both of his three-pointers. Freshman big dude Armando Bacot had seven points and eight rebounds in 23 minutes and would have reached double figures if he hadn’t flubbed five out of six free throws. Long Leaky Black had 7 rebounds, 5 assists and only one turnover in a secondary ball-handling role to Anthony.
Good help man-to-man defense held usually smooth-shooting Notre Dame to 35 percent from the floor and 29 percent from the slightly expanded college basketball 3-point line. The win, which Ol’ Roy didn’t seem so confident about before the game, was UNC’s 700th in ACC play over 65 years. A super way for a super freshman to start and be remembered.
(featured photo by Todd Melet)