That’s more like it.
I also imagine this makes going home for Christmas a much more pleasant proposition for the players. The Heels did a lot of things right in this game. UNC fully redeemed the defensive egg they laid Wednesday night against Nicholls State with a complete dismantling of UCSB with efficient execution on the offensive end and hard nose defense. The bottom line is the Heels obviously paid attention during the past two days of practice when Roy undoubtedly had them fearing for their lives and come out today with the requisite intensity on defense which included being very active in their matchups and contesting shots. Or looking at it another way, UCSB was ranked 60th according to Jeff Sagarin and came in shooting 44% from behind the arc. UNC held UCSB to 38% from three. Compare this to the 171st ranking of Nicholls State which entered the Smith Center shooting only 32% from three but rang up half the shots they took from that distance. So based on those factors alone it is obvious UNC did a better job playing defense. Offensively speaking the best way to describe how well the transition game was working is the fact UNC scored 105 points while making only three from beyond the arc out of 16 attempts. Yes it would be nice to get some perimeter shooting but 105 points pretty much without it seems to work pretty well too.
Among the individual performances there were the usual suspects in Tyler Hansbrough who had 21 but only seven boards breaking his streak of double-double games at five. And despite what folks say about Hansbrough’s athleticism or lack thereof, today marked the second time Ty Lawson was just plain good all over the place. The fast break ran about as well as I have seen it run this season with Lawson dropping 15 points, six assists and collecting four steals. The bigger headlines in this game were Marcus Ginyard and Deon Thompson. Ginyard had 17 points which was simply bonus material off his defensive efforts against Gauchos leading scorer Alex Harris. Thompson, who had been very much the subject of discussion as it pertained to his less than stellar play showed up today with 12 rebounds and three blocks. The hope is this level of play continues for Thompson and he can begin to allay the concerns that UNC misses Brandan Wright.
And UNC’s great play was capped off with the debut of football player Greg Little who had five points in his debut which included a made three pointer. Not bad for a first game.
UNC will return to action on December 27th versus Nevada which will give the players a nice break for Christmas before resuming the quest for a national championship.