Wrap-Up: Heels Come Back At Virginia
UNC 62, UVA 56
At times, it wasn’t pretty, but in the continuing theme of this season, the Heels showed heart in the second half against Virginia, clamped down on defense and pulled out the W.
As has happened several games this season, UNC went through a cold streak, not hitting a field goal for almost nine minutes spanning from the first half to the second. The deficit had grown to 11 before some increased defensive pressure helped the Heels battle back. A great team effort contributed to the turnaround, a good sign considering the rotation is still around 10 deep.
- Harrison Barnes is taking better shots. He only took one 3-pointer (a miss) and was 4-8 from inside the arc, with one of those misses rattling in and out. He’s also getting more involved in other aspects of the game. This Adam Lucas story sums it up well. Barnes has improved his play steadily this season and is looking smarter and better going into conference play. Unfortunately – due to the extreme hype surrounding him – Barnes should probably get used to the “overrated” chant that UVA students started on Saturday, but it appears he’s already adept at handling the pressure.
- With the exception of John Henson, UNC’s free-throw shooting has slowly become a strength. Over the final five minutes, the Heels went 14-16.
- The 10-man rotation that Roy is using and UNC’s frontcourt lack of frontcourt depth sometimes creates some small line-ups. At one point the players in the game included: Larry Drew, Justin Watts, Justin Knox, Reggie Bullock and Leslie McDonald. Also, Roy seems to be subbing based on who is in the best rhythm at point guard. Kendall Marshall spent a few stints with the players around him being replaced and Larry Drew II did the same.
- Carolina’s shooting woes from beyond the arc continued, with the Heels finishing 3-11 for 27 percent. Larry Drew should cut down on his attempts (1-3) but when they’re open Bullock (1-2) and McDonald (1-3) seem to be the most reliable.
- Much like the past two games (St. Francis & Rutgers) Carolina got its scoring from a balance of eight or nine players. It will lend to some more consistency in scoring, which will be important in conference play, but may cut down on some excitement. At this rate it will be a while before we see someone break out for 20+ points in a game.
Player of the game: Harrison Barnes (9 pts, 3 rebs, 2 blks) – Another stat-line indicator of Barnes improved decision making: one turnover but zero fouls even while tallying those two blocks. Also, love that step back jumper in the first couple of minutes.
Stat Stuffer (AKA the Danny Green Award): Larry Drew II (5 pts, 3 rebs, 2 asts, 2 stls) Low numbers, but with the balance UNC is getting they indicate how Drew was involved all over the floor.
Work on that one: Marshall’s lob to Henson that should have been a sick alley-oop.