Trailing at halftime by six points, the Hurricanes stepped it up in the second half and came back to beat Jacksonville, 89-77, a team that advanced to the second round of the NIT last season.
The Canes outscored the Dolphins 47-29 in the second half.
Starting guards, redshirt junior Malcolm Grant and sophomore Durand Scott combined for 43 points and 10 assists.
Grant finished with a career-high 23 points and Scott had 20 points.
Under head coach Frank Haith, the Hurricanes are now 7-0 in season openers.
“A good win for us to open the season,” Haith said. “A hard fought game. Jacksonville played very hard. Our kids were stun-gunned early but obviously we got it going. They came in here and got after us. It was a great game for us.”
Grant was 7 for 12 from the field and hit four three-pointers. He added three steals and four assists in 32 minutes of action.
“We just wanted to come in the mind set that these guys are going to bring it, have nothing to lose,” Grant said. “I think our guys did a really good job, we just started out slow but once we calm down we were successful.”
The Hurricanes trailed 14-3 within the first five minutes of the contest.
Now, the Hurricanes move on to preparing for tonight’s midnight game at No. 19 Memphis, which will kick off ESPN’s College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon. Haith has been having the team practicing later in the evening to get ready for the game.
The game is at 11:59 p.m. on ESPN.
Memphis hasn’t been a strong team since head coach John Calipari left for Kentucky, however Memphis still reached the second round of the NIT last season.
This is a chance for Haith and the Hurricanes to make a bigger name for themselves and the basketball program.
Lelan LeDoux may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.