Wrap-up: East Carolina


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UNC 93, ECU 87

Box Score

I’m gonna be honest, sports fans. I was kind of in-and-out on this ECU game. Maybe I’d been lulled to sleep by the lack of important games since Indiana, maybe the lack of games period. Who knows? For whatever reason, my typically super-critical eye was more focused on menial chores to do around the house while I had the game on in the background. After an emphatic “Easy B with the start!” tweet in reference to Brice Johnson getting to start, I was half watching.

I figured it’d be OK. I mean, it was just ECU, right? Man, nothing makes you feel more “less-than-confident” than a six-point victory over ECU, particularly when you’ve lead by double figures for most of the game.  UNC has assumed this mentality that it can outscore anyone a la 2009. This is not the case, and there needs to be a major improvement defensively for us to have any hopes of doing some damage in the spring. I did fully tune in for the final four minutes or so, and it wasn’t pretty.

Takeaways

  • Brice Johnson finally got the start, but didn’t do much in his 15 minutes of burn, tallying five points and four boards. After that performance, we wouldn’t predict another start in the Texas game, which is probably backed up by the fact that he only got those 15 minutes against ECU — not quite starter’s PT.
  • Reggie Bullock and P.J. Hairston both played well. We’d like to see more game action with both of them on the floor at the same time. P.J. has that Rashad-McCants-like unconsciousness where he doesn’t let what’s happened in the game affect how he plays. When he’s playing well, it’s great to have a guy like that on the floor.
  • No frontcourt player recorded an offensive rebound. Only Bullock, Hairston and Tokoto managed to grab any. Certainly not indicative of that aggressive frontcourt we asked for, for Christmas.
  • Dexter Strickland led the team in assists for the second straight game. He tied with Paige in the previous game and hit double digit assists this time around. He was definitely seeing more stretches at point with Paige on the bench. After the last two games, we’re honestly not sure if UNC’s best lineup has Strick or Paige at the point. Paige is certainly the better point guard, but with Strickland running the show, it allows the Heels to keep his lock-down defense on the floor and have both Hairston and Bullock on the wing at the same time. If he keeps dishing assists like he has, it might actually be the best way to go.

Superlatives

Player of the Game: Reggie Bullock (14 pts, 7 rebs, 4 asts) The Heels need to get games like this from Bullock consistently.

Stat Stuffer: J.P. Tokoto (10 pts, 5 rebs, 1 ast, 1 blk) The first stat stuffer of the year goes to Tokoto for his crazy efficient game. He went 5-5 from the floor and two of his boards were offensive in only 10 minutes of play.

Play of the Game: I think we all said “FINALLY” when McAdoo took that alley-oop over two ECU defenders and thundered it home. Please, please, please more of that.