Cole Anthony Drops 34 in Debut as No. 9 UNC Tops Notre Dame 76-65

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistNovember 7, 2019

North Carolina's head coach Roy Williams speaks with Cole Anthony (2) during the second half of an NCAA exhibition college basketball game in Chapel Hill, N.C., Friday, Nov. 1, 2019. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
Gerry Broome/Associated Press

North Carolina freshman Cole Anthony went off for 34 points in his collegiate debut while leading the Tar Heels to a 76-65 victory over the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at the Dean E. Smith Center on Wednesday night.

Anthony finished the game 12-of-24 from the field, including 6-of-11 from the three-point line. His 34 points are a program record for a freshman debut. Rashad McCants previously held the record, scoring 28 against Penn State in 2002.

Rated by 247Sports as a 5-star prospect and the No. 4 overall recruit in the class of 2019, Anthony was named to the preseason Wooden Award watch list. And he wasted little time in showing that the hype is real.

Anthony needed less than a minute to tally his first points in a North Carolina uniform:

That was just the start of a big night.

Anthony recorded 11 points in the first half, helping the Tar Heels overcome some sloppy play late in the first half to enter the break down just one.

With UNC trailing 44-41 six minutes into the second half, the star frosh took over. Anthony scored seven consecutive points for the Tar Heels during an 80-second stretch to turn a three-point deficit into a two-point lead. And that proved to be the spark Roy Williams' squad needed.

That led to a 17-6 North Carolina run, and from that point on, the Tar Heels never looked back.

A goggle-less Anthony wound up with 23 points, with the help of four triples, in the second half alone while helping UNC pull away. He did more than score, though. He also notched 11 rebounds, five assists and one steal on the night.

Needless to say, his performance caught everyone's attention:

North Carolina has the daunting task of attempting to replace Coby White, Cameron Johnson, Nassir Little and Luke Maye. Even though he's just a freshman, it will be up to Anthony to lead the way.

It was just one game, but Wednesday night's performance suggests Anthony has what it takes to put the Tar Heels on his back.

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