Meeks Drops 26, Leads North Carolina Over Temple in Veterans Classic
Patrick Semansky - AP Photo

The college basketball season has tipped off and the number one ranked North Carolina Tar Heels took down the Temple Owls in commanding fashion.

North Carolina and Temple squared up in the Veterans Classic opening game in Annapolis to open both of their seasons.

North Carolina got off to a slow start and Temple capitalized off it, keeping it close with North Carolina. With less than three minutes left in the first half, the Owls and Tar Heels were tied at 34. Temple showed signs of life early in the season but then North Carolina got hot and proved why they are the top team in the nation. In the span of two minutes and fifty four seconds, the Tar Heels went on a 13-2 run to close out the half.

In the second quarter, North Carolina was continuing to roll and did not look back. The Owls were struggling to connect on baskets and stop the Tar Heels’ high octane offense, despite missing . Temple only scored nine points in the final five minutes of the game while the Tar Heels scored 15. North Carolina went on to win 91-67, handing the Owls their first lost of the season.

North Carolina was performing well, despite missing guard Marcus Paige, who is out for three weeks with a broken bone in his right hand. Kennedy Meeks stepped up and filled the role, putting up 26 points and 11 rebounds. Nate Britt had a large contribution off the bench, scoring fifteen points. Brice Johnson and Joel Berry II both also had double digit points, scoring 16 and 14, respectively. Johnson also grabbed ten boards on the night.

Temple struggled to keep up with North Carolina once they starting to pull away late in the first half. Devin Coleman led the Owls in points with 19. Quenton DeCosey put up eleven points and Shawn Alston contributed twelve points to help with the scoring. The three were the only ones to score double digit points on the night.

North Carolina might have had a rocky start, letting Temple stay in the game for most of the first half. However, they then hit their stride and broke away from the Owls and could not be stopped. North Carolina also dominated the glass, totaling 49 rebounds on the night, including ten offensive rebounds.

Temple showed they can stay close with the top teams. For almost the entirety of the first half, Temple was staying level ground with the top team in the nation. Many expected the Owls to be blown out from the beginning, but they held their ground and showed they are not to be taken lightly. However, Temple struggled to find the bottom of the net. On the night, they shot 38.7% from the field and only 58.8% from the free throw line.

North Carolina plays hosts to Fairfield in the CEB Hall of Fame Classic this Sunday and look to improve to 2-0.

Temple continues their road trip, except this time they take to the air and play Minnesota in Puerto Rico as they look for their first win of the season.