UNC forward Brendan Keane (21) looks on while sophomore guard Tevin Svihovec puts in a layup Saturday at Butler-Hancock. Jaisee Starr | The Mirror
The UNC men's basketball team opened its season loudly Saturday with a 127-81 win against Southwest (N.M.).
After the defeating University of Colorado-Colorado Springs Tuesday in an exhibition, the University of Northern Colorado (1-0) had strong confidence going into this game, and it showed.
The team shot 71.2 percent from the field and scored the second-highest total in school history with 127 points, which is the highest by UNC since moving to Division I. Everything seemed to be going right for the team going into halftime, having already scored 70 points and allowing 40.
The Bears came into the game knowing they had a plethora of talent when it comes to shooting the ball, but it was their defense that was in question.
"Eighty-one can be deceiving," head coach B.J. Hil said. "You have to look at points per possession, but if we're at a .9, then that's where we want to be."
The Bears shot 75 percent from three in the first half alone and finished at 55 percent. Hill said the confidence level of his returners gives this year's team a talented combination of 3-point shooters.
"It's mainly the same guys as last year, but they're more confident," Hill said. "I think they're going to have the ability to make better ones, tougher ones, when we need them."
Sophomore forward Bryce Douvier had the game's only double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds.
"Coach just switched me to the (small forward) position so it opens up a little more playing time instead of coming in behind Emmanuel (Addo) and Derrick (Barden) which is pretty hard to do since they're both great players," Douvier said. "Coach really wants me to rebound. That's one thing he always gets on me about in practice. Focus on rebounding, try to score in open opportunities and try to get other people open off screens."
Fourteen different players got to play in the game and almost everyone reached double figures. The starting line-up is not set in stone though.
"Competition is good," Hill said. "Were not going to be able to play this many guys night in and night out. The guys that do perform in practice get it done. That's what we preach: Everybody gets a chance everyday to earn my confidence."