Wrap-up: UNC handles App State


UNC 97, ASU 82

Box Score

Is Tyler Zeller back? That’s the question on our minds after Carolina thoroughly beat Appalachian State on Saturday. Zeller lead the team with 31 points, an impressive bounce-back after his sub-par performances of late. Maybe he read our quarter-season report card, and it pissed him off? After all, the guy is accustomed to receiving great grades at Kenan-Flagler.

UNC controlled the game from the start, jumping out of the gate to a 13-2 lead and building that to 21-8 before ASU even looked alive. The mountaineers would battle back in the first half to a four-point deficit, with the score 34-30 with about four and a half minutes left. But another Carolina run — led mostly by Zeller – would get the lead to 48-32 at the half, with the Mountaineers’ making their only shot 11 seconds before the break.

Jason Capel was pretty nervous before returning to the Smith Center for the game. He’s only been back a couple times since he graduated in 2002. Seems like an awfully long time not to visit, considering the frequency you can spot alums in the stands for home games. I guess he’s been busy coaching or something.

Takeaways

  • As was said above, Tyler Zeller came back in a big way. It was against some lesser competition, yes, but the hook shot looked better and his confidence when scoring was noticeable. His point totals have been pretty consistently in the double digits this year, but if you watched the game you could see he was in the zone. He also notched his first 0 turnover game since Wisconsin, having coughed it up four times in both the Kentucky and Long Beach State games. He’ll get some love in the superlatives.
  • Kendall Marshall continued his torrid pace in the assist department. Marshall added 13 dimes against ASU in 29 minutes. The only reason he hasn’t broken Raymond Feltons single-game record yet is because he get’s pulled in the blowout games.
  • P.J. Hairston put up a goose egg from downtown, but he went to the charity stripe a team-high 12 times. Hairston has a big body for a freshman guard and he’s not afraid to crash the glass. Great news for the Heels that he’s also a good FT shooter; he hit 10 of 12.
  • 3pt woes return? The Heels only took 10 3-pointers, but hit a paltry two of them for 20 percent  on the night. Bullock was the only one to connect, hitting 2-5. This might be a little skewed as UNC didn’t really need to shoot the three to win, but after its recent output you would expect that number to be higher.
  • McAdoo and Hubert got some run. McAdoo got about his average minutes Saturday but Desmond Hubert got noticeably more than usual. What’s more was McAdoo and Hubert were on the floor with the starters for stretches. It will be important for both guys to develop during this homestand as they’ll provide some vital depth in the frontcourt in March. Both are still a bit raw right now. McAdoo has star potential.
  • Harrison Barnes didn’t hit double digits. Barnes only had 9 points. You would think his output against a team like App State would be more in the 20-range. Sort of like UNC’s 3-point shooting, part of the reason he might have had low numbers could be due to the fact that Zeller and Henson were having their way down low (Henson – 17 pts), so scoring wasn’t necessarily needed. When the team is winning, there’s no reason to complain about his output, but it sometimes seems like he has a hard time getting pumped up for games. UNC’s post-centric offense could also be a factor. We’d like to see the team getting him the ball early and often to get him jump-started. He’s too talented to not be utilized.

Superlatives

Player of the Game and Stat Stuffer: Tyler Zeller (31 pts, 10 rebs, 1 ast, 1 stl) As long as he’s scoring in bunches, many opponents will have to double-team Zeller. This could open up the floor for Barnes and the shooters.

Play of the Game: Zeller’s steal near halfcourt that turned into a coast-to-coast jam. One of our favorite plays of the year by far.