Wrap-up: UNC opens season with win over Lipscomb


UNC 80, Lipscomb 66

Box Score

Not bad for a season opener. The Heels let the Bison hang around but looked in control the whole game. With the last four minutes in the half, the team did show they knew how to put it into high speed after breaking a 32-all tie and outscoring Lipscomb 11-3 after the final TV timeout. I will admit I only got to watch the first half, but after perusing the box score it looked like the second half was essentially the same thing as the first. As of now, the Heels do seem like they’ll have some growing pains, which is pretty much like you’d expect, but the amount of confidence the young fellas played with makes it look like the swagger factor will be high by next spring.

Takeaways:

  • Tyler Zeller continued his charge binge from last season and took one early in the game. Last season Z averaged over one a game.
  • As it was mentioned earlier, the freshman looked comfortable. Harrison Barnes looked for his shot early, as did Reggie Bullock who knocked down two smooth 3s in the first half. Barnes’ jump shot still looks off balance to me. But if it goes in…
  • Speaking of freshman, Kendall Marshall showed us a lot last night. In 11 minutes of play, Marshall put in 10 points to go with 3 assists. Twice the D played the pass and Marshall took an open 3, which he drained, and a drive to the basket for an and-one and made the FT. Oh yeah, and he displayed some quickness picking of a pass near half court and taking it to the hole.
  • The starting backcourt of Dexter Strickland and Larry Drew II contributed for only 6 points and 3 assists to 2 turnovers. That’s not going to cut it.
  • The D still looks susceptible to the 3 and high-scoring guards. Josh Slater put in 21 to lead the Bison.
  • John Henson at his natural 4 position was a beast down low. Henson finished with 7 blocks, including two on one play, one of which was a cleanly blocked 3. Also, Henson continues to pass great for a big man. There was one over the shoulder pass in traffic to Zeller that no one was ready for, including Z who bobbled the ball out of bounds. Still pretty though.
  • Five Heels scored in double digits, including all three freshmen. That’s a well-balanced attack.
  • UNC went with a small line-up early of Drew II, Leslie McDonald, Justin Watts, Barnes and Zeller that was able to pressure the ball out on the perimeter very nicely. Look for this more this year, something new for the Heels.
  • Last but not least, Justin Knox is quickly proving his worth with a solid 6 points on 3-3 shooting to go with 2 assists and a block. Welcome to Carolina.

Superlatives:

  • Player of the Game: Henson – (10 pts, 17 rebs, 7 blks, 1 stl) Henson continues where he left off at the end of last season. If he keeps this up the lack of front court players may not be as much of a concern.
  • Stat Stuffer (aka the Danny Green award): Henson. 17 rebs and 7 blks, come on. Sick.
  • Tardy for the party: UNC crowd. The risers weren’t filled in the student section and the seats behind the bench were pretty bare. Unacceptable.
  • Kevin Bacon effect: Lipscomb had two UNC connections. Brandan Wright’s brother Brian is a junior wing for Lipscomb while guard Jordan Burgason – side note, what kind of name is Burgason? – played two years at Ames High School in Iowa with Barnes.

(Photos by Robert Willet of the N&O)