CHAPEL HILL — Just imagine if Cole Anthony could see straight the entire game.

The point guard’s collegiate debut involved the wearing of goggles and the ditching of goggles.

And then all those points.

Anthony scored 34 of them, the most by a player in a North Carolina debut in program history.

“I worked for this,” he said after the ninth-ranked Tar Heels figured out Notre Dame and won 76-65 at the Smith Center. “I’m happy to see my work pay off.”

North Carolina pretty much needed everything Anthony offered Wednesday night.

“Cole carried us,” coach Roy Williams said. “Basically in the second half, it was Cole Anthony.”

Anthony scored half of North Carolina’s second-half points. He was in position to outscore the Irish during the final 20 minutes.

If it was a sort of changing of the guard, it came after the guard made a change.

He didn’t don eyewear for the team’s practice that was open to the media last month, for the “Late Night with Roy” function or the team’s recent exhibition game.

Then he showed up for this season opener wearing prescription goggles. By late in the first half, he opted to go without them.

“I think it was messing up my depth perception,” Anthony said. “When I took those off, something clicked.”

By the end, he made 12 of 24 shots from the field, including 6-for-11 on 3-pointers. He also led the Tar Heels with 11 rebounds and shared the team high with five assists.

“I’ve been practicing with them,” he said of the goggles. “I thought it was OK. But after (this), I’m going to have to retire those early.”

Williams agreed.

“I thought he played better in the second half,” Williams said. “My guess is he probably won’t wear them again.”

And after this performance, Williams vowed not to wear him out. Anthony played the entire second half.

“I’m not going to play him all the time like that,” Williams said.

The Irish led 46-43, but Anthony was starting to heat up.

During one stretch, the second-half scoring totals were: Notre Dame 27, Anthony 23.

Anthony made the tying and go-ahead baskets.

Shortly after, he sandwiched a pair of 3-pointers around an Andrew Platek long-range connection as the Tar Heels stretched their lead to 61-50.

“That dude is pretty good, isn’t he?” Platek said. “I’ve see Luke (Maye) drop 30. I’ve seen Coby (White) drop 30, but to come out in your first game, that never happens.”

Anthony passed the previous freshman debut school scoring record of 28 points by Rashad McCants in 2002. He eclipsed the ACC mark in the same category, set at 33 last November by Duke’s RJ Barrett against Kentucky.

The last North Carolina freshman with at least 30 points and 10 rebounds was Tyler Hansbrough in 2006.

The superlatives were just extra.

“What I was expecting,” Anthony said, “was to win.”

No Tar Heel has ever taken more than 24 field-goal attempts under Williams.

“It’s his ability. His toughness,” Williams said.

Garrison Brooks tallied 10 points and Platek finished with eight for the Tar Heels, who committed 17 turnovers.

Prentiss Hubb scored 22 points for Notre Dame, which used a starting lineup that included four seniors. T.J. Gibbs poured in 19 points and John Mooney had 10.

• FREE THROWS …: Anthony’s total court time was 37 minutes, 2 seconds. ... It was the 700th ACC regular-season victory for North Carolina, the most in league history. Duke is next with 650. … North Carolina has defeated Notre Dame in the last seven meetings.