Atlantic Sun Conference

Defending champ North Carolina opens up, tops Lipscomb 84-66

Kenny Williams was a bit player in North Carolina's run to the national title game in 2016, then watched last season from the sideline due to a knee injury as the Tar Heels won a sixth NCAA championship without him.

They need him to be every bit as good as he was Friday to reach a third straight Final Four.

Williams scored 18 points to help UNC beat Lipscomb 84-66 in the first round of the NCAA tourney, a strong start for a guy carrying a heavier load this time in a small-ball lineup.

"I was excited all week about coming to play my first game with heavy minutes in the NCAA Tournament," Williams said. "This is what you look forward to growing up, so I...