Just over three minutes into their first-round NCAA Tournament game, Texas Southern held a 10-8 lead over the top seed in the South Region, North Carolina.
That was the last time the Tigers would even get a sniff of the lead as North Carolina cruised to a 103-64 victory.
A 16-0 North Carolina run put the game out of reach early. Texas Southern was held scoreless for over four and half minutes as the size of the Tar Heels became too much to handle. By halftime, the North Carolina lead swelled to 52-27.
The size differential between the two squads was displayed in the disparity of the rebounding numbers. North Carolina came into the game as the top offensive rebounding team in the country according to KenPom and Friday afternoon was no different. The Tar Heels out-rebounded Texas Southern 30-13 in the first half, including a 12-3 advantage on the offensive boards. That led to 17 second-chance points for North Carolina as opposed to just two from Texas Southern.
The second half was much of the same. North Carolina was able to rotate in its bench players and continued to expand the lead. By game’s end, North Carolina had 27 more rebounds, 21 more second chance points, and shot 14 percent better from the field than Texas Southern.
Justin Jackson led the Tar Heel scoring effort with 21 points, mainly coming in the first half as he only played 24 minutes in the game. Jackson did a great deal of his damage from the three-point line, hitting five of the Tar Heels’ eight total threes.
Junior Kevin Scott was a bright spot for Texas Southern. He finished the game leading the Tigers with 19 points. Texas Southern completes its season with a 23-12 record. More importantly, however, might be that they could return four of their five starters from Friday’s game next season. Texas Southern should continue to be a force in the SWAC next year.