NIOWA
UNC

No Text

Maye helps No. 9 UNC beat Northern Iowa 86-69 in opener

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) Luke Maye knocked down outside jumpers, hit the glass and scored inside - even throwing in a nifty spin move on a post bucket - for the best scoring performance of his career.

Ninth-ranked North Carolina needs this version of Maye, too.

The 6-foot-8 junior had 26 points and 10 rebounds to help the Tar Heels beat Northern Iowa 86-69 in Friday night's season opener, a fast start for a one-time reserve now thrust into a leading role for the reigning national champions.

''Whether I score 26 or whether I score two, it's not going to make a difference to me,'' Maye said. ''I just want to go out there and play my best and help my team do the best we can.''

Big men Kennedy Meeks, Isaiah Hicks and Tony Bradley Jr. are gone from last year's title winner, leaving behind Maye and an inexperienced crop of big men.

Maye has already proven he can handle the biggest of moments, with his last-second jumper to beat Kentucky in the NCAA Elite Eight standing as the biggest moment of last year's tournament. Now he needs to prove he can do it more consistently in a minutes-rich and every-night role.

''When Luke was torching us in every practice ... I knew at some point he was going to explode,'' senior Theo Pinson said. ''And I told people before this season started: `Luke Maye is going to shock everybody.'''

Maye made 11 of 16 shots, including two 3-pointers, in 28 minutes.

''He's quick to shoot it and he's got no fear,'' Northern Iowa coach Ben Jacobson said, adding: ''Tonight we had a couple where we didn't give him much space ... and he made 3s.''

Freshman Garrison Brooks added 14 points for the Tar Heels, who didn't have Final Four Most Outstanding Player Joel Berry II and Pittsburgh graduate transfer Cameron Johnson due to injuries.

Regardless, the Tar Heels shot 50 percent and blew open a 14-point halftime lead to as many as 31 points late.

Spencer Haldeman had 15 points to lead Northern Iowa, which had upset the top-ranked Tar Heels at home in November 2015. But the Panthers never came close to duplicating that magic.

BIG PICTURE

Northern Iowa: The Panthers are picked to finish second in the Missouri Valley Conference, but this game just got away from them. With top big man Bennett Koch getting in early foul trouble, Northern Iowa relied on the 3-point shot and made 13 of 28 - though it got nothing inside the arc and only got to the foul line nine times through the first 36 minutes before getting there several times late in a blowout.

UNC: The Tar Heels were down two likely starters, so there were several storylines beyond Maye. Most notably, freshman Jalek Felton started at the point with Berry out, while Seventh Woods (nine points) had some good moments. Brooks also started alongside Maye up front while fellow rookie big man Sterling Manley had nine points and eight rebounds.

''It was great to see we could come out there and put it together tonight,'' said junior guard Kenny Williams III, who had 10 points, five assists and three steals.

BEEN A WHILE

Maye's layup with 14:47 left in the opening half marked his first basket since the winner against Kentucky on March 26. He had missed all four of his shots in the Final Four against Oregon and Gonzaga.

BROWN'S BOOST

Northern Iowa's Isaiah Brown made just 9 of 41 3s (22 percent) as a freshman, but hit 3 of 6 Friday and finished with 13 points against UNC.

''He worked hard over the summer, but the last month he's put in a lot of time,'' Jacobson said. ''And you can see it.''

INJURY WATCH

Berry, who is recovering from a broken bone in his right hand, warmed up with the team during shootaround. Johnson has a sprained neck, though coach Roy Williams said Johnson was improving daily and didn't sound concerned about the injury's severity.

UP NEXT

Northern Iowa: The Panthers host Alcorn State on Monday.

UNC: The Tar Heels host Bucknell on Wednesday.

---

This story corrects that Northern Iowa got to the foul line nine times through the first 36 minutes, not for the entire game.

---

More AP college basketball: http://collegebasketball.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP-Top25

---

Follow Aaron Beard on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/aaronbeardap

Copyright 2017 by STATS. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS is strictly prohibited.

Key Players
Min. Per Game
Pts. Per Game
Ast. Per Game
Reb. Per Game
Field Goal %
Three Point %
Free Throw %
  Defensive rebound by Aaron Rohlman 16.0
  Spencer Haldeman missed 3-pt. jump shot 18.0
  Defensive rebound by Luke McDonnell 26.0
  Walker Miller missed hook shot, blocked by Luke McDonnell 27.0
+ 1 Spencer Haldeman made 3rd of 3 free throws 41.0
+ 1 Spencer Haldeman made 2nd of 3 free throws 41.0
+ 1 Spencer Haldeman made 1st of 3 free throws 41.0
  Shooting foul on Seventh Woods 41.0
  Offensive rebound by Northern Iowa 53.0
  Tanner Lohaus missed layup, blocked by Shea Rush 54.0
  Offensive rebound by Tanner Lohaus 56.0
Team Stats
Points 69 86
Field Goals 23-55 (41.8%) 31-62 (50.0%)
3-Pointers 13-28 (46.4%) 6-18 (33.3%)
Free Throws 10-15 (66.7%) 18-21 (85.7%)
Total Rebounds 29 37
Offensive 5 9
Defensive 20 26
Team 4 2
Assists 15 20
Steals 2 8
Blocks 1 3
Turnovers 14 7
Fouls 20 15
Technicals 0 0
15 PTS, 3 REB, 3 AST
26 PTS, 10 REB
12T
away team logo Northern Iowa 0-1 313869
home team logo9 North Carolina 1-0454186
Team Stats
away team logoNorthern Iowa 0-1 65.7 PPG 38.5 RPG 11.1 APG
home team logo9 North Carolina 1-0 82.8 PPG 46.5 RPG 17.6 APG
Key Players
30
S. Haldeman G 7.2 PPG 1.8 RPG 1.2 APG 46.0 FG%
32
L. Maye F 17.8 PPG 10.5 RPG 2.4 APG 51.1 FG%
Top Scorers
S. Haldeman G 15 PTS 3 REB 3 AST
L. Maye F 26 PTS 10 REB 0 AST
41.8 FG% 50.0
46.4 3PT FG% 33.3
66.7 FT% 85.7
Northern Iowa
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB
I. Brown 33 13 1 2 1 0 1 2 4/11 3/6 2/3 0 1
B. Koch 18 11 4 1 0 0 2 4 4/7 0/0 3/4 2 2
K. Carlson 31 8 5 4 1 0 3 2 3/10 2/6 0/0 0 5
J. McCloud 23 7 2 2 0 0 3 3 3/7 1/2 0/2 0 2
T. Pickford 25 5 3 1 0 0 1 0 2/5 1/2 0/0 0 3
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB
I. Brown 33 13 1 2 1 0 1 2 4/11 3/6 2/3 0 1
B. Koch 18 11 4 1 0 0 2 4 4/7 0/0 3/4 2 2
K. Carlson 31 8 5 4 1 0 3 2 3/10 2/6 0/0 0 5
J. McCloud 23 7 2 2 0 0 3 3 3/7 1/2 0/2 0 2
T. Pickford 25 5 3 1 0 0 1 0 2/5 1/2 0/0 0 3
Bench MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB
S. Haldeman 24 15 3 3 0 0 2 2 4/9 4/8 3/3 1 2
A. McDermott 16 7 1 1 0 0 1 1 2/3 2/3 1/1 0 1
A. Phyfe 12 2 0 0 0 0 1 5 1/1 0/0 0/0 0 0
T. Lohaus 2 1 2 1 0 0 0 0 0/1 0/0 1/2 1 1
T. Friedman 10 0 2 0 0 0 0 1 0/0 0/0 0/0 1 1
L. McDonnell 6 0 2 0 0 1 0 0 0/1 0/1 0/0 0 2
W. Lohaus - - - - - - - - - - - - -
L. Conrey - - - - - - - - - - - - -
J. Dahl - - - - - - - - - - - - -
R. de Souza - - - - - - - - - - - - -
H. Rhodes - - - - - - - - - - - - -
M. Wentzien - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 200 69 25 15 2 1 14 20 23/55 13/28 10/15 5 20
North Carolina
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB
L. Maye 28 26 10 0 1 1 1 2 11/16 2/3 2/2 3 7
G. Brooks 18 14 6 2 0 0 3 2 5/6 0/0 4/4 3 3
K. Williams 28 10 1 5 3 0 1 2 3/8 2/4 2/2 0 1
J. Felton 22 5 2 1 2 1 1 1 2/5 1/3 0/0 0 2
T. Pinson 26 3 3 5 0 0 0 1 1/6 1/6 0/0 0 3
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB
L. Maye 28 26 10 0 1 1 1 2 11/16 2/3 2/2 3 7
G. Brooks 18 14 6 2 0 0 3 2 5/6 0/0 4/4 3 3
K. Williams 28 10 1 5 3 0 1 2 3/8 2/4 2/2 0 1
J. Felton 22 5 2 1 2 1 1 1 2/5 1/3 0/0 0 2
T. Pinson 26 3 3 5 0 0 0 1 1/6 1/6 0/0 0 3
Bench MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB
S. Woods 18 9 0 2 2 0 1 2 3/6 0/0 3/4 0 0
S. Manley 14 9 8 1 0 0 0 0 3/4 0/0 3/5 3 5
B. Huffman 9 4 1 0 0 0 0 2 2/4 0/0 0/0 0 1
A. Platek 10 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 1/1 0/0 2/2 0 0
B. Robinson 16 2 2 3 0 0 0 1 0/2 0/1 2/2 0 2
S. Rush 4 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0/2 0/1 0/0 0 0
A. Rohlman 2 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0/0 0/0 0/0 0 2
W. Miller 5 0 0 1 0 0 0 2 0/2 0/0 0/0 0 0
J. Berry II - - - - - - - - - - - - -
C. Johnson - - - - - - - - - - - - -
K. Smith - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 200 86 35 20 8 3 7 15 31/62 6/18 18/21 9 26