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November 18, 2010

Heels cruise past Hofstra

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- Harrison Barnes played like a worthy pick to the preseason All-America team and the freshman showed what all the hype was about on a national setting, scoring 19 points in No. 8 North Carolina's 107-63 win over Hofstra on Thursday in the opening round of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off.

Barnes had what would be a career game for most players in the first half. He made all four 3-point attempts and scored all his points to help the Tar Heels (2-0) storm out to a 25-point lead.

With every sweet shot, Barnes is making coach Roy Williams and the Tar Heels forget all about last year's miserable 17-loss season.

Barnes had plenty of help in the second half, as North Carolina swatted shots, alley-ooped, and pressured Hofstra all over the court.

The Tar Heels will play the winner of the Minnesota-Western Kentucky game in the eight-team tournament that finishes Sunday.

Barnes became the first freshman named to The Associated Press preseason All-America team since voting began before the 1986-87 season. If he keeps dazzling like this, the 6-foot-8 forward will surely find a spot on the year-end team.

He made it look effortless from 3-point range, and when he wasn't on the perimeter, Barnes beat the Pride (1-1) inside, skying over two helpless defenders for a putback that wowed a strong Tar Heels turnout at Coliseo de Puerto Rico.

Barnes also showed some quickness as he sprinted down the lane and turned a nice pass from Tyler Zeller into a three-point play. He was 6 for 7 overall and 4 for 4 on 3s for 17 points -- and there was still 5 minutes left in the first half.

NBA scouts watching from behind the basket could fill out their reports on him then.

Leslie McDonald scored 16 points and Justin Watts added 13 for the Tar Heels.

John Henson had 12 points and 11 rebounds. The Tar Heels out-rebounded Hofstra 50-29.

It was a typical Roy Williams game -- run, run, run and pile up the points.

This was the first ever game between Hofstra and North Carolina. The Pride won't mind if it's the last for some time.

Their bad day started before tip when "Hoftra" was on the scoreboard. The mistake wouldn't get fixed until halftime.

Charles Jenkins valiantly did his best for 20 minutes to match Barnes. Jenkins, the Colonial Athletic Association player of the year last season, scored 20 points in the first half on 9 for 11 shooting.

Jenkins scored 24 points and Mike Moore had 15.

At one point, Hofstra was a solid 10 for 17 from the field.

The problem?

North Carolina was 6 for 7 on 3s and led 42-23.

When Hofstra's shooting went south, the game turned into a romp. Williams emptied the bench with 2 minutes left and North Carolina up 103-58.

Williams had the worst season of his career last year when the Tar Heels reached the NIT championship game just a year after winning the national championship.

With Barnes on board, the Tar Heels found themselves in the Top 10 of the preseason poll and now have their focus squarely on this tournament's championship.




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