Wrap-up: Heels Drop Deacons Despite Sloppy Play


UNC 78, Wake Forest 64

Box Score

If you read our preview, you read our prediction that “as long as UNC plays a mediocre game, this will be a win.” Well, it was a mediocre game, and UNC won, so I guess that was a pretty accurate statement. And while we’re on the subject of educated guesses, we  have to give a tip o’ the hat to Rafters Editor Benn Wineka, who’s score estimation(80-66, UNC) was the closest we’ve had on the blog to date.

Now that you’ve fully realized our powers of prediction, let’s get back to that lackadaisical game Carolina put in last night. Things started off well, with the Heels more or less doubling up Wake for most of the first half. Despite some horrific shooting, the bigs’ dominated the offensive glass and put in a lot of second (and third) chances. In fact, 20 of UNC’s 50 rebounds were offensive in the game.

The shooting slump continued in the second half. There’s not much to say about it other than Carolina was just not clicking with its shots. Most were wide open looks as Wake was stuck in a somewhat inactive zone defense. Carolina had been playing well during an emotional four-game stretch since Larry Drew II’s departure, and it seemed to catch up with the team yesterday night when the Deacons whittled the their deficit to eight in the second half before UNC pulled away again. Hopefully a one-game slump is all it will be.

Takeaways

  • John Henson is consistent. Henson tallied another double double with 14 points, 13 rebounds and 5 blocks. His recent stellar output seems to be his new norm, and we’re definitely OK with that.
  • Harrison Barnes’ shooting woes returned. Barnes gets a break here because the whole team shot poorly, and because most of his 3-pointers were wide open looks. Still, 1-8 from beyond the arc with mostly wide-open looks is the opposite of good. He’s at least stopped taking all those contested treys, but UNC needs him to knock them down when they’re open.
  • More on Barnes. Harrison had about three highlight-reel caliber dunks in the second half Tuesday, with our favorite being his swooping elevation through the lane in traffic for the “And 1.” Honestly, if he just stuck to two-pointers he could dominate some statistical categories. He loves those treys though.
  • UNC shot 27 3-pointers on the game, making five (18.5%). Carolina does not need to be shooting that many threes period, let alone when they’re not going in. Its strength is inside with rebounding and on the break with its speed and finishing — not stroking it.
  • There was a  Leslie McDonald sighting. McDonald hit a couple of long-range shots and drove the basket on his way to 5-6 from the charity stripe, finishing with 13 points and seven rebounds. He didn’t shoot a fantastic percentage, but was a great presence in some quality minutes.
  • More on McDonald. Sometimes it feels like Leslie is forcing some shots, almost like he’s looking to get his while he’s on the floor. Sometimes I think he’s trying too hard and trying to impress Roy. It could be because he’s worried about Reggie Bullock eating into his PT. I could also be making all this up, but maybe I’m not.

Superlatives

Player of the Game & Stat Stuffer: Both go to the Big Smile, John Henson (14 pts, 13 rebs, 5 blks, 2 asts, 1 stl).  If  Henson’s newly Rafters-bestowed nickname left you a little puzzled, it’s a play on another famous nickname for a Carolina player with long arms. (see: The Big Smooth)

Honorable Mention: Harrison Barnes (17 pts, 4 rebs, 4 asts, 1 blk, 1 stl) I had to mention Barnes because he had ZERO turnovers. He didn’t quite make player of the game because he didn’t disrupt nearly every shot in the paint like Henson, and he shot that dismal 1-8 from three.