UNC 90 BC 80

All this character building is starting to wear me out.

What a bizarre game. Having watched more UNC games than I could reasonably count you get to a point where you start comparing certain games to others. This one actually reminded of two. With the way BC came out and Tyrese Rice just lit UNC up building a big lead I was reminded of the game against Georgia Tech in 2006 when Tyler Hansbrough scored 40 in rallying UNC from down 13 at half to win. Georgia Tech had similar 1st half stats as BC today shooting 61% from the floor and 9-10 from three to stake a 55-42 lead. In the second half it was all UNC outscoring GT 40-20 to win by seven. What I recall about that game was how matter of factly I watched it thinking “There is no way GT shoots like this in the 2nd half.” I was a little more apprehensive today since the stakes were higher but I sort of felt the same way, “There is no way Tyrese Rice can keep shooting like this in the 2nd half.”

Part of the feeling stemmed from the 2nd game this one reminded me of and that was the FSU game at Chapel Hill in 1993 when the Noles staked the big lead and on the way to the locker room you have Sam Cassell wagging his tongue at the cameras as he went down the tunnel. In much the same way you had Rice fanning himself after hitting threes and at the first half buzzer chest bumping with his teammates the same way you do when the game is over and you have won. I thought then that UNC might enjoy an edge in the second half since the Heels tend to be a team that shows up for the second half. Sure enough this proved to be the case with UNC more so in the offensive games brought by Danny Green and Wayne Ellington in the second stanza and the defense of Ty Lawson.

Beginning with Ty Lawson, it was obvious that he is not 100% but for all the noise we heard on message boards about his toughness, he clearly illustrated some in this game playing 21 minutes and locking down Tyrese Rice in the 2nd half. Rice was 10-14 from the field including 8-9 from three in the first half for 34 points. In the second half after scoring the first four points for BC with Quentin Thomas on him, Lawson came in and along with Marcus Ginayrd held Rice to 2-7 shooting(0-3 from three) and only eight points. Not bad for a one guy playing for the first time in six games while still not 100% on the ankle and the other with two bad wheels himself. It should be noted that UNC has apparently transitioned to this point where they can play a full second half of stellar defense if the game conditions warrant it. Then again I am not entirely convinced the 1st half was so horrible for UNC. The offense was bordering on dismal in the 1st half but the Heels still put up 40 points. The defense was not horrible in my opinion when it came to Rice, he was just flat out phenomenal. I have never seen anything like that in one half on the college level and for a while I thought he might actually break Danny Ferry’s ACC single game mark. Lawson did the job on him in the 2nd half and the team defense in general was good enough to force key turnovers and control the boards enough to get an 18-0 run to take the lead.

And while Hansbrough did not put together the best game he still managed a “mere” 25 points. He was basically all there was until Ellington and Green got heated up. In fact if you want to rally, Green is your guy to get it going with a couple of threes which happened when Roy decided to pull the five players on the floor and chat with them on the bench. This set off the run that gave UNC the lead(as it always seems to do) and from there is was UNC playing like the #2 team in the nation.

The one side story to this game is the play of Quentin Thomas. Roy said he was surprised at how “shook” QT looked and while we might could chalk this one up to the way Rice played, there is a fear that QT simply does not handle playing behind Lawson. One game is not enough to make a judgment on this issue and hopefully we will see better play from him against FSU and Duke as Lawson plays more minutes and gets back to form.

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25 Responses to UNC 90 BC 80

  1. william says:

    Dick Vitale made reference tonight to Carolina’s amazing road warriors having gone undefeated away from Chapel Hill this year. One to go!

  2. william says:

    My worry is that the team may be too loose when Lawson is in the line up. By the time I turned on the game it was 18-5 and I have no idea how that is even possible in three minutes, but the intensity did not seem the best.

    If you look at the 1993 season, Carolina had one truly brutal defeat, against Wake Forest. I can’t remember the final score but I believe we lost by well over 20 and in that game, unfortunately, Wake’s guard (Frank Johnson?) hit five or I think 6 three-pointers in the second half and the game was over. Carolina went from being a couple of possessions down or something to being over 20 down. I don’t think we played that terrible but it was almost like losing the lottery. Usually, losing to Wake is a good sign, however. Losing to BC surely isn’t since we all despise those SOB’s from two years ago.

  3. Tar Heel Fan says:

    william,

    It was just bizarre. Heels were a little knocked back and Rice was freaking unbelievable early on. Some of those threes he made initially were contested and QT had a bit of regression there at the start turning the ball over and having problems running the offense.

    The Wake game in 1993 was on the road and three days after the FSU comeback. Classic trap game. They then lost to Duke at Cameron but only lost the ACC title game after that which was played sans Derrick Phelps.

  4. scl11 says:

    THF,
    Reminded me of 1998 @ Wake, when Robert O’Kelly couldn’t miss and Carolina trail big early, but still found a way to win.

  5. Wilson says:

    Good point on Q looking shaken. Never thought about it that way, but that might explain why he wasn’t playing like he has been today. Looking over your shoulder doesn’t seem to help his confidence.

    Boy did we come out lacking intensity though. We were completely going through the motions in the first half.

  6. TxTarheel says:

    This year’s version has gone on the road & won some tough contests, and yes on occasion those contests were tougher than necessary. If you take the game at Clemson in context with Saturday’s win over BC, I think it speaks to an improving mental toughness that (+/-) may have gone lacking last season. Hitting a high % of FTs, forcing turnovers at key points in the 2nd half…could see a game like this in the NCAA tournament. I hope my foreshadowing skills are off, however facing a team in 2nd/3rd round like last year’s USC game wouldn’t surprise me. I wonder if Tom Izzo’s Spartans find their way in our bracket again ?!?

    I realize Rice plays for the opposition but that 1st half performance was just un-flipping believable.

  7. william says:

    I am looking at the PPP analysis and it was basically our best offensive performance of the year and our worse defensive performance.

  8. Andy in Omaha says:

    At halftime I grabbed the phone and spoke to one of my friends who just moved to Philly and is also a diehard Tar Heel fan. At the same time, we both said “there’s no way Rice can keep this up in the second half.”
    I hate comparing basketball to football, but for some reason this time reminds me of that 2002 Ohio State football team. The wins weren’t the prettiest, but when it came time to force a stop or make a score, they came together and pulled it off. I don’t know if this will equate to a national title, but I think all the haters who look at our close games and point those out as to why UNC will make an early exit in the tournament are gravely mistaken.
    As long as it results in a W, I don’t care if the margin of victory is one or 100.

  9. william says:

    Honestly, from everything I can tell, winning close cames is unfortunately likely to be more a sign of good luck than anything else. Many people hate rankings that use pure points (differential) as the standard, for as Sagrin states, it is “politically incorrect.” As we ended up seeing, the fact that the Patriots games kept getting closer towards the end of the season, with them still winning all but the last, was not a positive sign. Winning games by 30 points is a positive sign.

    Having said that, yesterday’s game was not particularly close nor did it hinge on lucky bounces, unlike the Clemson games and the Maryland game. The way that I see it, Carolina has had three close games, winning two and lost one not close game. My definition is a bit different than some perhaps, but I define a close game as one where the other team has the lead, or the ball and a chance to take the lead in the last four minutes. Using that standard, I never saw the FSU or UVa games as being particularly white-knuckled, unlike the Maryland and Clemson games.

  10. william says:

    Wow. This Maryland-Clemson game was horribly boring and Maryland had it by about 20 points with under ten minutes.and Clemson won by 3 on a long three pointer at the buzzer by Oglesby on Senior night in the Comcast Center. Joe Holliday, the radio announcer for Maryland just stopped talking for several seconds like he couldn’t believe what he had just seen. Just radio silence for like ten seconds.

  11. 52BigGameJames says:

    maybe he ran down to the floor to resuscitate Gary?

  12. william says:

    Gary looked stunned. For some reason, Carolina is the only team that Oglesby doesn’t torch. He really hit some throws that were reminiscent of Brian Magid, the ex-Terp from the mid-70’s.

  13. 52BigGameJames says:

    lol–that reminds me–thread starter idea: which ACC player do you most resemble?

    been told I look(ed) like Brad Davis–maybe it was the left-hand J

  14. Tar Heel Fan says:

    Oglesby almost torched us in the first OT in Chapel Hill. He hit two threes, the last one a prayer will Ellington all over him. He then fouled QT on the other end(because QT beat him off the dribble) and the two FTs got UNC a 2nd OT.

  15. william says:

    i remember those, but he was like 1 of 8 or something in Littlejohn. This win by Clemson was Carolina-like and possibly even more devastating than our win against them in the SAC last month. To lose like that on Senior night, wow. Gary just was ashen faced. The Terp fans are hating on Grevius on the call-in show now. Terp fans are not very loyal, lol. They started calling for Gary’s head three years after winning the NCAA title.

  16. william says:

    Brad Davis. I had forgotten about him. The 1975 Terps, along with the 1980 Terps, were so good and so unlucky. I probably look most like Monte Towe.

  17. 52BigGameJames says:

    Grevious can play like an idiot at times.

  18. Tar Heel Fan says:

    We can only hope Duke’s senior night is just as miserable as it was for MD.

    I saw bits and pieces of the game. Did notice they were up 20 and Oliver got T’d up early in the 2nd half. Interesting how badly MD folded against the Tiger press, Tim Brando cited fatigue as part of it, maybe that was the case.

  19. william says:

    The last caller on the Maryland Sports Network opined that Gary Williams does not deserve to get fired and said he just wanted to call to defend him from all the people calling for Williams’ head. Maryland has a contingent of wingnuts who are almost as bad as the haters at StateFans….

  20. 52BigGameJames says:

    think there’s any chance Roy will use some zone against Duke?

  21. william says:

    If you want the zone so bad, why don’t you start a movement to bring Frank McGuire back?

  22. william says:

    I love the stories in Art Chansky’s book. Smith was one of those underlings always trying to improve things. McGuire had walked before one game just minutes before and Smith was sketching out some new defensive schemes on the blackboard, when McGuire bellow, “Forget all that garbage–just go out there and pretend your back in New York in the schoolyard,” and they Heels went on to a huge victory in the Dixie Classic.

  23. 52BigGameJames says:

    a study in contrasts for sure–Oscar and Felix.

    no, I think our D is really coming on, but I do worry about playing Duke straight up.

  24. william says:

    I don’t know if there is any way to do a general thread but a couple of days ago people were discussing various coaches records. Here is some data on Smith versus other well-known ACC coaches:

    Checking the lifetime records of ACC coaches versus Smith(McGuire was not included because USC is no longer in the conference I guess, but Smith clearly had a winning record against him, but maybe more in the Holland range) it is interesting to see just how dominant Smith was, even against K. it is also surprising to see his record against GIT, given how memorable some of Tech’s wins were against UNC. Basically, anybody who could win better than 1/3 of his games against Smith over an extended period of 20 or more contests, was a great coach, which probably only includes McGuire, Bubas, K and Holland, with Gary Williams and Valvano a little further back.

    Terry Holland and Coach K were the most successful against Smith with at least 20 decisions. Bubas was 12-8 against Smith, Holland was 10-18 against Smith (4-6 during the Sampson era). Cliff Foster was 4-17. Carl Tacy was 10-29. Bobby Cremons was 10-28. Valvano was 7-18. K was 14-24(or 26), losing his last 9(or 11). Rick Barnes for all the NCSU bellowing about how he competed with Smith, was 1-8. Jeff Jones was 4-14. Les Robinson was 5-7, but it was a very strange 5 of 7 including several monster blow-outs by the Heels. Pat Kennedy was 4-10, but l0st his last 9. Norman Sloan was 13-25 but it seemed less good than it was as 9 of those came consecutively during the 1972, 1973, 1974 and 1975 seasons. Gary Williams ended up 6-15 and Dave Odom 6-13.

  25. william says:

    I forgot Lefty, who was 10-31 against Smith at Maryland, winning his last two before disaster struct, and I believe losing a couple of others to him at JMU, at least one of which was possibly Smith’s third greatest comeback of all time after the 1974 Duke and 1975 Wake tourney games.

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