Unfortunately my enthusiasm for how this game unfolded has been seriously dampened by the news out of Chapel Hill that Bobby Frasor is out for the season with a torn ACL. Tough break for a great guy and the bad news has really sucked the air out of what was looking like a big freaking balloon all through the second half of the game. At any rate, the season moves on and if this game servers any notice as to what UNC is becoming, I think we are all going to be fairly happy come March.
- UNC came out a tad rusty off the holiday break and with three minutes left in the half, Heels led by three when basically Ty Lawson went off. The lead was fourteen at the break after Lawson “went nuts” as the announcer so succinctly put it by stealing and scoring which included six of UNC’s final eight points of the half. Lawson ended up with 16 points, 10 assists and five steals. Quite frankly if he does that too often he is going to start scaring me.
- What kind of mojo does Roy have on the bench? Wayne Ellington missed Wednesday practice due to bad weather at home so per team rules, he does not start. Danny Green got the nod in his place and had quite a pedestrian game for him. Ellington on the other hand went completely nuts coming off the bench and his five of eight three pointers on his way to 23 points. Holy balanced offense Batman! You add what Ellington was doing to the fact Hansbrough had 26 points despite being hounded by a taller, more athletic defender, UNC looked as dangerous tonight as I have seen them look all season.
- It is still early but Deon Thompson might be close to finding a groove by posting 12 points on 10-15 shooting.
- One huge complaint I had last season was the tendency the Heels had for bleeding a lead away to begin the second half. It even happened in the Davidson game this season and it was one of the more annoying aspects of game execution or lack thereof for UNC. Now in three straight games UNC has shown the opposite propensity. This game was the third consecutive contest where UNC came out of the locker room and smoked the opposing team during the first four minutes of the second half. And I love it. Coming out for the second half and putting together five or six straight offensive sequences that are totally productive while shutting the other team down might not always win you the game but it gives you great odds. With the way this game unfolded tonight, UNC put their collective foot on Nevada’s throat as the 1st half ended and within three minutes of game time in the second they had pressed that foot down and crushed any sign of life Nevada had left. This, more than anything else, convinces me that these guys are developing that necessary killer instinct.
- The lessons of the Nicholls State game appear to not only have been learned but very much taken to heart. The defense was once again very good forcing 20 turnovers, 12 of those outright steals. The Heels dominated the boards with a 42-29 edge, held the Wolf Pack to 41% shooting and disrupting Nevada at every turn.
- The final verdict is UNC was very impressive, especially with the small break thrown in. They showed up to play and if they continue to do so, not many teams will beat them.