UNC 73 BYU 63

This was a great win for the simple fact that despite a truckload of adversity UNC still found a way to beat a very good BYU team that gave the Heels a lot of matchup problems, especially on the interior.

First order of business, Ty Lawson spent most of the game watching after rolling his ankle two minutes in. Based on the replay it did not seem to be bad and since UNC trainer Marc Davis opted to ice and then tape it I can only surmise they want to rest it and see how it is tomorrow and Monday ahead of the trip to Columbus. Lawson’s absence from the lineup meant the offense was erratic at best with Bobby Frasor and Quentin Thomas sharing the PG duties. Now, both Frasor and Thomas should be commended for coming in and running the team with a great deal of competence. However, the offense is designed to have Lawson do certain things, particularly penetration and pushing the ball. Thomas/Frasor do not do this as well and the half court offense was abysmal at times since it appeared UNC could not get enough penetration to create other opportunities. It also seemed like there was great uncertainty on offense without Lawson on the floor. His importance cannot be overlooked and neither can the educational value of this win for the team to understand they are still capable of winning without Lawson playing.

The adversity for UNC did not stop there with the whole team having an off night shooting the ball. Wayne Ellington ended up 15 but struggled at points to hit some shots until he drilled a three to salt the game away. Aside from the classic effort from Tyler Hansbrough, Danny Green once again was the man at the right time to keep it all together. And it is not like Green is an offensive weapon per se as he is a player that can be depended upon to go out and do his thing which will almost always result in points, rebounds and other key plays. With Green it is not the “what” or “how much” but the “when” as he appears to have a great sense for the crucial moment when a shot or steal or key rebound is needed to keep the train rolling.

Overall the defense was much better but the offense struggled probably due to the absence of Lawson. In that respect the game has to be viewed through the prism of Lawson’s absence in terms of how well the Heels might have played offensively had he been in the game. This is in no way to disparage the way BYU played. The Cougars were a lot of the reason the Tar Heel offense struggled but the things Lawson does would have negated some of BYU’s defensive effectiveness. With the offense somewhat spotty the Heels’ defense made the difference in the first half and late in the game when stops were needed to maintain control of the game. And yes, this was another close game inside of four minutes where UNC found the path to victory despite bad breaks and an opponent unwilling to back down.

One more issue. These Heels still show a propensity to drop first half leads by coming out for the second half flat. I am not sure if this is a concern or what might be causing it but it seems like the opposing team comes out hot while Tar Heel players are a bit flat footed. If there is a concern it is how it affect momentum and in a game versus a team who might be one shot of confidence away from seizing control of the game, these post halftime lapses could be that shot. Obviously something to watch for as the season progresses.

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8 Responses to UNC 73 BYU 63

  1. Howard says:

    This game scared me to death! If I hadn’t been nearly asleep from the late hour, I might have felt it more! But I liked the defense, especially in the second half. It seemed to throw BYU off its game some. I was dismayed at the missed shots Carolina had, especially inside. It looked like Carolina realized the game was coming to an end, so they got together and took care of the win. I think it bodes well that the team could do this without Lawson, who sure looked disgusted on the bench! Look forward to Wednesday.
    I especially liked the TV shot of the BYU player’s wife, calmly applying lipstick as her hubby shined on court. Maybe someone told her she was being shown on TV?
    Something else I liked was what seemed to me as “kindness” and “concern” by some BYU players when there was a big tangle with the ball and it appeared as if Tyler might have been injured. It’s nice to see this, rather than some kind of “in your face, Turkey” attitude. Whenever I see it in football – like a player helping his opponent up – I feel heartened. Too many times players lean over the downed player and yell in his face.
    By the way, I really like your Blog. I checked my local paper, plus the Durham Sun on the Internet, and no Carolina game result – too late, I guess. But the game was right here. Great. Did you get any sleep?

  2. Tar Heel Fan says:

    Two nights of late games is rough business when it comes to blogging. Throw in a drive from MD to NC prior to last night’s game and I am pretty spent.

  3. 52BigGameJames says:

    Well, I must confess that E has made a believer out of me–key rebounds, consistently good defense, the “Larry Bird/assassin-look”…he’s left the pretty-boy image at the door this year, and looks like he’s ready to fulfill those press-clipping prognostications.

    Ginyard’s effort on the erroneously called out of bounds play left something to be desired, but when he polishes his finishes on slash moves, he will really be tough to handle.

    Roy said it, and Dickie V parroted: when & if this team becomes a consistent defensive force, they’ve got as good a shot as anybody, despite being a little weak on the perimeter.

  4. Carolina Girl says:

    Howard – FYI – she had to know that she was being shown on TV. Basically, the way it works is that the BYU Sports Info Director would have had to tell the camera crew where she was sitting and they wouldn’t have filmed her unless they knew it was okay by her. That’s the reason you never see shots of Coach Williams’ wife – she doesn’t want the camera on her.

    Not saying anything bad about the girl, just an interesting fact.

  5. DeanForever says:

    Where have you gone, Deon Thompson? Fortunately for him. Danny has picked up the slack, but…geesh! Alex’s 6.8 RPG ARE encouraging, though. Deon’s been plagued with fouls all year (over three per), but he needs to rebound better on the offensive end. Perhaps this is all a bi-product of Tyler’s impressive start. Who knows? 5-0. Any predictions for the Ohio State score? Despite Ty’s bum ankle, UNC wins 85-72.

  6. Howard says:

    Thanks for the info on showing people in the crowd. I didn’t know that. I guess I just assumed they trolled the crowd looking for someone they knew, and then spied on them. Nice to know they get permission first and then apparently honor it. That explains why the BYU girl was fixing her lipstick. Thanks.

  7. Josh Bowling says:

    I didn’t mind the wife at all!! She will probably have more air time as the season unwinds. One thing I would like to say to Danny Green. Back your defender down in the post and spin to the rack. This game showed the second time he has done that this season and he beats his man every time for a score. Danny, you are too athletic to not do this on just about every possession. Your defender can’t stop you when you do this. THF, wouldn’t you like to see more of those moves from Danny?

  8. Adam says:

    Okay, so I get that Ty’s absence forced us to show a VERY different offense, but here’s what I don’t get: why Roy, oh why, would you pull Tyler out of the post for the ENTIRE second half. Seriously ya’ll, did anyone else notice that? I realize that he picked up some early/stupid/bs fouls, and I do think its great that Stephenson and Thompson played more minutes in the paint than they’re used to getting, but with a game that close and a tourney trophy on the line, I don’t understand why Roy didn’t put Tyler under the basket where he could really impact the game. No offense to Psycho T, but he has no place on the wings.

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