Heels just barely beats UNC-Pembroke, 100-58









All snark aside, the final score of UNC’s recent dominating exhibition win didn’t reflect what was apparently a sloppy game for a half.

I was traveling — to Chapel Hill, in fact — and unable to watch the game, which was available on TarHeelBlue.com, but all accounts (N&O, DTH, AP) concur that the starting five struggled from the gun, then came to their senses in the second half. The rally was sparked, however, by an unlikely cast, sophomore Reggie Bullock and four freshmen, P.J. Hairston(above), Jackson Simmons, Stillman White and Desmond Hubert, went on a 14-0 tear to put the Heels up 11 at the break after trailing for most of the first half.

Hairston’s stat line, in particular, was very encouraging: 17 points on 4 of 6 shooting from beyond the arc. With Leslie McDonald being out for most if not all of the season, a deep-shooting threat is the most glaring hole in the Heels offense. Hopefully Hairston can keep up that kind of production. Most freshmen that come into college touted as “shooters” usually take a year or two to develop. Wayne Ellington shot 37 percent from 3 his freshman year, a stat that improved to almost 42 percent in his last season at Carolina. Bullock, entering his second season, could also provide some needed firepower from outside to help take the pressure off Barnes.

Not that Barnes won’t be taking plenty of those ill-advised 3-pointers again this year; he went 0-3 in the exhibition. We know that Harrison loves to shoot it, but what is encouraging is that he took 10 free throws in the contest, possibly signifying more aggressiveness near the basket. He made nine of those. Barnes has bulked up a bit over the off-season and has mentioned in interviews the he is trying to drive the hoop more often. This is good. This is very good.



Barnes will take his jumpshots, 2-8 on the game, but going to the hoop will be a strength of the Heels’ this year, and once he learns to utilize his size the points will start to pile up.

Is it November 11 yet?