No. 8 UNC hosts Stanford in Little's home debut

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Seventh-ranked North Carolina finally plays a home game and there will be a familiar face arriving for Monday night's game at the Smith Center.

That's because the visiting team is Stanford, which is coached by former North Carolina assistant coach Jerod Haase.

While the coaching angle is one of the storylines, it figures that Tar Heels fans will be more excited to see freshman forward Nassir Little in action on the home court.

North Carolina (2-0) went to Wofford and Elon for road outings to begin the season.

Many of those supporters were on hand at nearby Elon, where Little racked up 21 points on 9-for-13 shooting Friday night in what some observers described as a coming out party.

"I'm trying to learn and adjust," Little said. "I like to bring energy."

Little has played as a reserve, logging 20 minutes in North Carolina's second game. The only freshman in the starting lineup so far has been point guard Coby White, who said the nerves have started to fade.

"I feel like all the jitters were (gone)," White said. "I feel I played a lot better than against Wofford. We all played more comfortable. We got more comfortable on the court. We're starting to grow as a team."

Stanford (2-0) is on an East Coast swing, winning Friday night at UNC Wilmington, which is coached by C.B. McGrath. Haase and McGrath were Kansas teammates under Roy Williams and later together on the North Carolina staff before landing head coaching jobs.

"It's also part of the process right now," Haase said of playing away from home. "The guys have to learn how to play on the road."

Haase said the maturing is something he hopes to see develop on the trip.

"We maintained our composure for the most part, which is really good for a young team," Haase said, noting his team stopped settling for 3-point shots after the opening minutes at UNCW. "I liked the way we started attacking more on the offensive end."

Meanwhile, North Carolina senior guard Kenny Williams has a total of one point in the first two games of the season. His offensive snags are something that coach Williams said he won't make an issue.

"He's one of our best shooters," Roy Williams said. "It's not going into the hole for him right now. But I'm also a guy that believes I'm not going to give him any pointers. His shot is good, just keep practicing and keep positive thoughts."

North Carolina has tapped numerous offensive sources, with four players -- Luke Maye, Garrison Brooks, Cameron Johnson and Little -- already producing outings with 20 or more points. It's the first time in more than 50 years that four Tar Heels have logged 20-point games through two contests.

The 116-67 romp at Elon marked the 60th time a Tar Heels team coached by Williams reached the 100-point mark in his 16 seasons. The point total matched the most scored by North Carolina under the Hall of Fame coach.

North Carolina is 101-7 in home openers, including 29-2 at the Smith Center.

North Carolina is 11-0 all-time against Stanford, including a 96-72 road victory last season. This is Stanford's third visit to Chapel Hill, but first since November 1988.

The Tar Heels have won 10 consecutive meetings against Pac-12 teams.
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