It was the Cole Anthony show during No. 9 North Carolina's season-opener against Notre Dame. The highly-touted freshman's 34 points, 11 rebounds and five assists led the Tar Heels to a 76-65 victory over the Irish.
Anthony's performance not only set a new North Carolina record for the most points scored by a freshman in his college basketball debut, but it also set a new ACC record. He is the only freshman to put up a 30-point, 10-rebound and five-assist stat line in a debut in the past two decades, per ESPN Stats & Info.
The player who previously held the North Carolina opening game scoring record was Rashad McCants. He scored 28 points in a game against Penn State during the 2002-03 season.
Although Carolina came away with a key ACC victory, it took a spark led by Anthony to really get them going in the second half. The Irish, who were led by sophomore guard Prentiss Hubb (22 points, six assists), had a 37-32 lead at about the 18-minute mark in the second half. That's when Anthony started to shine. He cranked out seven straight points and ended up scoring 15 points during UNC's 29-13 second-half run that put the Tar Heels in the driver's seat.
Along with McCants, Anthony joins another Carolina star. This was the first game a Tar Heel freshman has posted 30-plus points and 10-plus rebounds since Carolina legend Tyler Hansbrough, who scored 40 points and racked up 10 rebounds against Georgia Tech in 2006.
📽️: Notre Dame ✔️ Next Up ➡️ UNC Wilmington pic.twitter.com/EUHw1Z47F3— Carolina Basketball (@UNC_Basketball) November 7, 2019
Anthony, who is the son of UNLV legend and former NBA guard Greg Anthony, shot 12-of-24 from the field and 6-of-11 from behind the arc on Wednesday.
Carolina travels across the state to face UNC Wilmington next, and Roy Williams has to feel good about his star fresman's debut. A team who lost its core in Coby White, Nassir Little and Luke Maye last year, will be looking to continue its fresh start in the second game of the season.
UNC-UNC Wilmington will take place at 7 p.m. ET on Friday Nov. 8 and will be available to watch on FloSports. Notre Dame will host Robert Morris at 12 p.m. ET on Saturday, Nov. 9 on ACC Network Extra.