Winning ugly is still winning. Kentucky came to Chapel Hill today and despite 38% shooting and being outrebounded by the Wildcats UNC managed a 12 point win. As expected UNC came out a little flat following the big win over Ohio State. This was a trap game and UNC played according to that expectation. Fortunately for the Tar Heels, Kentucky has their own problems including 22 turnovers.
UNC got big games from the freshman trio of Brandan Wright(16 pts), Wayne Ellington(17 points), and Ty Lawson(7 assists). Reyshawn Terry also did UNC the service of showing up today with a 16 points and nine rebounds. Tyler Hansbrough was limited to seven points on 2-10 shooting. Of course it was good to see Ellington and Lawson come out and each have a second good game following up on the excellent effort from both against Ohio State. Then again there was evidence in this game of an inconsistent effort on hustle plays and defense. In fact Roy pulled the old “White Team/Blue Team” trick where he benched the five players on the court and replaced them with five off the bench. Granted this is all done as a motivation for the starter but I would not be suprised if Roy tries this again considereing the talent he has sitting beside him. He was also displeased with the effort in general:
The basketball was rolling on the floor and we’re tiptoeing through the freaking tulips reaching over to get the ball,” Williams said. “It is so stupid. We’re going to dive after the ball. We had four guys daintily trying to get the ball. If it’s on the floor it says North Carolina basketball and if you’re not going to get it, I’ll get somebody else in who will.
I imagine the focus and intensity issue will be addressed quite a bit over the coming week. From here UNC gets seven cupcakes, with six of those at home. These games will be key to nailing down the rotation which today included only eight players getting more than 10 minutes and three others in the eight minute range. This is a team that, in my opinion, is starting to gel and play as a cohesve unit. The cupcake stretch will be very helpful in getting everyone on the same page and hopefully continuing to learn the defense.