If the current string of games are meant to be build blocks for the meat of the season then this one was a perfect one for the Heels to play and win. UNC struggled shooting the ball in the first half shooting 29% only leading by one at the break before coming back in the second stanza and imposing their will on a tiring Billiken team. Tyler Hansbrough had the kind of game he wanted to have in his homecoming with 15 points and 13 rebounds. Brandan Wright has yet to play a game as a Tar Heel and not score in double figures. However the most impressive line of the night has to belong to Ty Lawson who went for 12 points, eight assists and eight rebounds despite being 5-11. Fourteen points from Danny Green further highlights the Tar Heel depth where players which may not garner the focus on the defense can step up and scorch the opposition.
The impressive part of this win is this kind of game is very much like what UNC will see when they visit Clemson or Virginia Tech to take on teams which they obviously out class on paper but play tough on their home court. Games of this nature can take a nasty turn if UNC gets rattled by the first half of play and does not make the necessary adjustments to exploit the obvious talent advantages. The Heels did that tonight turning a one point first half struggle into a 21 point win. UNC faced a lot of different pressures in this game from Hansbrough wanting to make a good showing to the general lack of focus that comes from playing a game right before the holidays. Also add in that this was the first college game for guys like Lawson, Wright, and Wayne Ellington. UNC remained focused on the task at hand and the environment did not seem to be an issue.
So, at 10-1 UNC goes on a little break until next Thursday when they welcome Rutgers and show the Scarlet Knights that it’s not football season anymore.