Wrap-up: ‘Canes whip the Heels in Coral Gables


unc miami basketball

UNC 61, Miami 87

Box Score

There was a court storming in Florida over the weekend, but not the kind you typically think about. No, this “storming” was more of the punishing, gale-force pounding executed against Carolina by the University of Miami. If you were going to name this storm I guess you would call it Hurricane Upperclassman, and left a path of destruction in it’s wake.

Maybe I’m going a bit overboard, but the ‘Canes could seemingly do no wrong on Saturday. While the poor shooting by Carolina certainly didn’t help the margin, Miami never let its foot off the gas pedal, shooting an unrelenting 58 percent from beyond the arc and 54 percent from the field. In fact, 15 of Miami’s 31 field goals made were 3-pointers. Nine of the U’s last 11 field goals in the first half were threes. Where many thought Miami’s advantage would be, in the post with Kenny Kadji and Reggie Johnson, it was its perimeter shooting that carried the day. And it wasn’t just one ‘Cane doing the damage; five different Miami players hit at least two treys.

After getting in an early hole, UNC  started trading threes with Miami. P.J. Hairston hit one, then Reggie Bullock hit one, then Durand Scott would hit a two and a three for Miami, then Hairston with another three, Rion Brown a three for Miami, and finally Hairston would make another three to bring it to 30-21 with about 4 minutes left in the first half.

That would be as close as the Heels would get. Shane Larkin would respond with a three of his own, and Miami would hit THREE MORE THREES before the end of the half. Miami’s upperclassmen knew how to keep up their intensity and not allow Carolina to make a run.

Takeaways

  • This game further exposed UNC’s perimeter defense, which has been an issue all year. Shane Larkin was running the pick-and-roll like it was going out of style. When a Tar Heel would try and go under the screen Larkin would simply launch a three (5-8 on the game), and if they went under he’d hit the streaking big man.
  • Rebounding was absent. One of UNC’s strengths this year, despite lacking significant size down low, has been rebounding. Miami was beastly on the boards, and coupling this with the fact the ‘Canes didn’t miss a lot of shots hurt the Heels, who weren’t able to get as many fast break opportunities as they’d like.
  • Lack of free throws. UNC didn’t go to the line at all in the first half and only shot six free throws all game. McAdoo was trying to make some aggressive moves, but he kept getting stuffed by Miami defenders, including one embarrassing block when he was leaping for a slam. There really is no other way to say it.
  • While we’re not sure any team in the country could have beaten Miami on Saturday, they beat UNC in a way that exposed weaknesses, and unfortunately, shooting well and playing defense is what Duke executes to a T. It doesn’t bode well for Wednesday, but hey, it’s a rivalry game. And we all know what can happen in any given Duke game.

Superlatives

Player of the Game: Reggie Bullock (14 pts, 7 rebs, 1 ast, 5-8 FG) Reggie had a decent game and that’s enough to earn player of the game in this case.

Ouch: Larkin threw an oop to a Kadji in the second half that you could say was, uh, demoralizing. If the game wasn’t over before, it certainly was after this.