Weekend Wrap Up: Heels 2-0 after Carrier Classic, UNC-A
Well, we’re still having technical issues on the site, so we’re sorry if you missed a preview for Asheville and have been waiting on pins and needles for a wrap-up from both weekend games. Here’s the wrap-up, but it seems kind of silly to retroactively do a preview doesn’t it? We’ll keep these short because you probably already read all this in some form or another.
Carrier Classic, USS Carl Vinson
UNC 67, Michigan State 55
The Heels came out a little flat, particularly on the boards, but were able to regain composure and put together a 22-6 run to take the lead for good in the first half. The wind had a little bit of an effect on jumpers, but UNC still managed to shoot 47 percent from the field. They looked the part of the No. 1 team in the country, though perhaps not the No. 1 team in the country coached by Roy Williams as they only scored 67 points. The other difference from a typical Roy team was defense, as the Heels held MSU to just 55 points and 30 percent from the field, 10 percent from beyond the arc.
Player of the Game: Harrison Barnes (17 pts, 5 rebs, 2 asts, 1 blk) He led the team in scoring, but the main reason he’s here was he showed that he’ll be driving the lane more this year and not relying so much on his jumper. He went to the line a team-high seven times, and even when he did slip back to those days he was still a respectable 2-5 from 3.
Stat Stuffer (a.k.a. the John Henson Award and former Danny Green Award): John Henson (12 pts, 7 rebs, 9 blks, 2 asts) Appropriately it goes to its namesake in the first game of the season. Henson piled up the blocks against MSU and probably altered about nine more shots significantly.
Mr. Efficiency: P.J. Hairston (3 pts, 3 rebs, 1-1 FG) He only played eight minutes but Hairston made them count, hitting the only shot he took (a 3-pointer) and grabbing three boards. He did have one foul as well.
UNC 91, UNC-A 75
This game wasn’t even fair, but the way it started it seemed the Heels would be in a dogfight with the Bulldogs (nudge, nudge!). UNC-A was opening a brand new arena for its first homegame of the year, making the environment worthy of a conference away game. Roy Williams was surprised to get booed in his hometown. The Bulldogs had definitely come to play……at least for the first 10 minutes. Asheville guards J.P. Pimm and Matt Dickey were hitting shots and out-working everyone on the floor. It was about 7 minutes in when UNC went on a run to take the lead, and only built it up after that. Taking advantage of the fact that the only Bulldog over 6’5″ to see significant minutes was 6’8″ Jon Nwannunu, the Heels pounded the inside with Zeller and Henson to dominate the final 30 minutes. Blue Steel got about 1:30 of playing time to round out the afternoon.
- John Henson has a mid-range game. Henson flashed an array of turnaround jumpers and looked damn good doing it. Last year, I would have preferred him to stick to lay-ups, but his shot but drawing all net from about 10 to 15 feet and it looked easy. If he can continue to show a mid-range game it will spread out the floor, allowing Zeller to occupy the paint and the guards to space out around the arc. Henson taking that little J could also draw in a defender from the outside to help and leaving either Barnes, Strickland or Marshall alone and ready to drive.
- Zeller is a machine. I’m not saying that he won’t face some battles this year against better competition, but when he’s matched up against an inferior defender he makes them just look silly. There was a stretch in the second half where I think Marshall went to Zeller three times down the court, resulting in three Zeller layups. His footwork is great and you can’t teach his size. He’s probably the most consistent threat on the team .
Player of the Game: Tyler Zeller (27 pts, 8 rebs, 1 blk) As was mentioned above, he was absolutely unstoppable.
Stat Stuffer (a.k.a. The John Henson Award and former Danny Green Award): John Henson (20 pts, 12 rebs, 2 blk) There’s a reason it’s named after him.
Red Flag of the Game: Zeller (4) and Barnes (6) combined for 10 turnovers. TEN turnovers against UNC-Asheville. Clearly there is some work to be done there.