Wrap-up: UNC ekes out win over College of Charleston Cougars
UNC 74, College of Charleston 69
Last night had the makings of another heartbreaker. Having lead almost the entire first half, it took only two minutes for UNC to go from being up by 3 to trailing 48-43. The Heels had done their best to keep the powder keg Andrew Goudelock in check, but the man who almost single-handedly beat UNC last year hit three 3s, two from well beyond the arc, to get hot at the right moment.
It was at that moment, however, something seemed to click for the Heels. Without a timeout – God forbid Roy call one at such a pivotal moment – UNC clawed back to make it 50-49 before the 12 minute TV timeout. The back and forth continued until the score was knotted at 56. From here the Heels scored eight unanswered points to put the game out of reach, although it was not without its dramatics in the waning minutes.
This was what UNC could not do in the Vandy and Minnesota games. Having been out-hustled for the first 30 minutes, UNC flicked that metaphorical switch and began playing up its potential. Yes it was just College of Charleston, but this game has become a grudge match of sorts, as is evident from last year’s meeting, as well as the now 3-4 all-time record against UNC that C of C now holds that K-Mac pointed out in the comments yesterday. There’s no better time for this confidence and grit to show up either with Illinois and Kentucky looming, and Texas just around the corner.
- Not saying the game wasn’t sloppy at points, but UNC did cut down its turnovers to a respectable 14. UNC even had a one more assist than giveaways and only Harrison Barnes finished with more TOs than assists (3:4).
- While on the subject of Barnes, the frosh has yet to find his rhythm offensively. He’ll do things like knock in an off-balance runner in the lane or a long range jumper to beat the shot clock, then pull-up on a break without numbers or put his head down on the way to the basket leading to a charge called against him (twice yesterday). If anyone needs to lighten the load on their back its Barnes. As good as this kid can be, putting the entire team on his shoulders before playing a game looks like its taken a toll.
- In other freshman news, Kendall Marshall looks poised to take over the starting point guard position any day now, except one thing is holding him back: defense. Not that Marshall is bad at defense, but Larry Drew II has been playing some very mean man-to-man. Look at his stats otherwise, 1 point on 0-3 shooting, 1 assist and 1 steal in 27 minutes. Marshall had 6 points, 4 assists and 1 steal in 13 minutes. The only reason Marshall wasn’t on the floor longer is because Drew is quicker.
- Along with Drew’s D, Dexter Strickland was the man last night denying Goudelock as much as anyone can deny Goudelock. Leslie McDonald also did well coming off the bench to lock down Goudelock.
- The Heels may have won the overall rebounding battle, 43-42, but the much under-sized Cougars collected more offensive rebounds than the Heels and doubled their second chance points. UNC looked more concerned with Goudelock not getting the ball than they did with the actual play. Carolina dared the rest of C of C to beat them and they almost did.
- Once again, UNC did play to its strengths, putting the ball into the post at every opportunity and outscoring C of C 42-30 in the paint. Tyler Zeller did not shoot well, 4-12, even though most were turnarounds he usually knocks down, but John Henson poured in a career-high 19 points.
- Carolina also eventually remembered how to run the break in the second half scoring 10 of its 12 fast break points after the half. This number needs to be higher but at least it picked up.
- Player of the Game: John Henson – (19 pts, 7 rebs, 2 asts, 2 blks, 1 stl) Big day for the big man. Also went 3-4 from the FT line. We need that every game.
- Stat Stuffer (aka the Danny Green award): Henson – See above.
- This Porridge is too Cold: Andrew Goudelock – He may have finished with 28 points, but he needed 34 for a win. Plus, I had to sneak in a Goldilocks joke in there because his name bares a striking resemblance, no?
- No Mojo in the Risers: To go with the weak attendance of less than 16,000, the risers were very, very, very empty and people were seen leaving on TV with 2:55 to go. It doesn’t matter if this is the end of Thanksgiving break, those stands – especially the student section – should be packed. The Rafters hasn’t been out of school that long to know professors don’t assign work over the holiday. And this is a team from the Carolinas that embarrassed us last year. C’mon.