PHOENIX — Kennedy Meeks’ performance in Saturday’s national semifinal game against Oregon was one for the record books. His 25-point, 14-rebound performance — punctuated by his game-saving offensive rebound in the final seconds — put him in with some impressive company in both North Carolina and Final Four history. How impressive? Here’s a small sampling: ◼ Prior to Meeks, the only other players to post at least 25 points and 14 rebounds in a Final Four game were Syracuse’s Carmelo Anthony against Texas in 2003, UCLA’s Ed O’Bannon against Arkansas in 1995, Kansas’ Danny Manning against Oklahoma in 1988 and Indiana State’s Larry Bird against DePaul in 1979. ◼ The last three players to record at least 25 points and 10 rebounds while shooting 80 percent from the floor in a Final Four game are UNC’s Sam Perkins vs. Houston in 1982, Michigan State’s Magic Johnson against Penn in 1979 and Indiana State’s Larry Bird against DePaul in 1979. ◼ Meeks’ field goal percentage of .846 (11 of 13) is the third highest in national semifinal history and the fifth highest ever at a Final Four. The only ones better are UCLA’s Bill Walton against Memphis in 1983 (.909), Ohio State’s Jerry Lucas against St. Joseph’s in 1961 (.909), Louisville’s Billy Thompson against LSU in 1986 (.909) and UNC’s Sean May against Illinois in 2005 (.846). ◼ Meeks’ 25 points didn’t just tie his career high, but they were also the most by a Tar Heel in a national semifinal since Donald Williams had 25 against Kansas in 1993. ◼ His 14 rebounds moved him past former teammate and first-team All-American Brice Johnson for fifth on UNC’s all-time list with 1,042. Johnson had 1,035. Billy Cunningham is fourth on the list with 1,062. ◼ Meeks has pulled down double-figure rebounds in each of his last four games, becoming the first time a Tar Heel has done that in the NCAA tournament since Antawn Jamison in 1997 and ’98. ◼ Meeks now has 129 rebounds in 16 career NCAA tournament games, tying Sam Perkins and Rusty Clark for the third most in school history behind Tyler Hansbrough with 146 and George Lynch with 138. ◼ And finally, he’s the first Tar Heel to hit for 25 points and 10-plus rebounds in a national semifinal since Brendan Haywood in 2000.
Duke and North Carolina clash in Cameron Indoor Stadium on Thursday for the first time this season. As the entire sports world stops to take notice, the teams will once again be battling at the […]