The season FINALLY tipped off tonight! The Tar Heels took on the Garner Webb Runnin’ Bulldogs in the Dean Smith Center to kickoff the 2012-13 season.
The starting lineup has been a big topic of conversation lately, Roy Williams stated on Thursday that he still didn’t know who would fill the center position. The Tar Heels went with Marcus Paige at the point, Dexter Strickland and Reggie Bullock on the wings, James Michael McAdoo and Desmond Hubert inside.
The Heels made a very concerted effort to get the ball inside to McAdoo early who put up two of the first four shots. Hubert gave up six of the first eight points inside giving up position early int he post. PJ Hairston and Joel James were the first players off the bench for Hubert and Paige, the rotation will be something to keep a close eye on as UNC has six games in the first 13 days of the season.
The Tar Heels found themselves down 13-10 with 13:40 to go after a four minute scoring drought broken up by McAdoo who scored seven of the Heels first 12 points. Former Garner Webb transfer Luke Davis got some time early coming into the game at the 12:32 mark. Davis looked good and led UNC on a mini run of it’s own to take an 18-14 lead with 10:34 left before Paige re-entered the game.
Brice Johnson showed his offensive maturity as soon as he entered the game scoring on two post ups and rebounding the basketball with authority. After James and Hubert picked up their second fouls, Roy went deep into his bench and inserted Jackson Simmons into the lineup. Foul trouble is something UNC cannot afford from their big men, Simmons is not a player who can handle big minutes.
The first half play showed what we all know, UNC is still adjusting to playing with each other and their own roles. Garner Webb hung around for much of the half despite going very cold on the offensive side of the ball largely because of mistakes. Carolina pulled away and led by as much as 11 sparked by a 10-3 run.
McAdoo continued to attack and finished the half with 15 points to lead Carolina to a 12 point lead. The first half was pretty sloppy aside from a couple runs and the play of McAdoo. UNC only attempted two three point shots in the first half going 0-2. The Heels did a nice job of offensive rebounding, on 15 misses UNC had 10 offensive rebounds that accounted for 14 points.
Score at the half: UNC 38 Garner Webb 26
Joel James started the second half in place of Desmond Hubert which could be a sign of things to come and something to keep an eye on. Bullock knocked down the Tar Heels first three pointer of the game a minute and half into the second half. McAdoo tied his career high with his 17th point less than three minutes into the half and broke it with his 19th point a couple mins later.
Facing the Garner Webb zone defense the perimeter players remained quiet on the offensive end as UNC found success feeding the post. The Runnin’ Bulldogs were able to stay around with UNC unable to put them away staying within 12 points with eight minutes to go.
With the lead down to just 10 an angry Roy Williams went with wholesale changes in the lineup bringing in Paige, Hairston, McDonald, McAdoo and James. The Heels continued to get their best offensive from missed shots as they turned missed perimeter jumpers into easy put backs.
UNC was able to close things out extending the lead to 16 with a minute to play.
This was overall a pretty ugly performance, the Tar Heels should have been able to score more against a team like Garner Webb. The perimeter shooters were not existent for the majority of the game and without McAdoo, nobody played the way they need to play for this team to be successful. At the same point, this was the first game of the season in a year that is going to take some time for the players to get used to playing with one another and adapt to larger roles.
Final Score: UNC 76 Garner Webb 59
Player of the game: