The Tar Heels of North Carolina beat a visiting Virginia squad on Tuesday. This game turned out a lot different than the first time these two teams matched up. The Heels actually scored more points in the 2nd half of Tuesday’s game (53) than they did the entire game earlier in the season against Virginia (52). Let’s check the key statistics to see how UNC made that happen.
One of the main things that helped the Tar Heels be so efficient was not turning the ball over. They only had 7 for the game. That is a season low. They average 13 per game on the season and their previous low was 9 twice. Oddly enough, despite their low amount of turnovers, they only managed 59 shots. UNC averages 66 shots a game. So while having not many turnovers is obviously good, the Heels must have excelled somewhere else.
North Carolina stuck about to their assist average with 18 for the game. They average 17 per game. That combined with their low turnover rate comes out to a 2.57 assist to turnover ratio. This was their second best performance in that category and the best in conference play. Leading the way was Dexter Strickland with 6.
UNC made 30 free throw attempts. That is a season high for conference play. The team was very fired up and played aggressive basketball. Strickland and P.J. Hairston both attempted 8, going 13-16 overall. Marcus Paige went a perfect 6-6. Overall, they scored 22 points from the charity stripe. That is an area the Heels have struggled in all season. James Michael “Hack-a-Shaq” McAdoo was the sore spot only shooting 25% from the line going 1-4. The Heels will need to keep up the trend of getting to the line in order to make a late season run in the ACC tournament.
Another factor that got the Tar Heels into the 90 point scoring total was their 3-point shooting. Hairston, on his way to scoring a career-high 29 points, shot 6-12 from behind the arc. Paige shot 3-5 and Reggie Bullock had an off night only shooting 3-7. As a team they shot nearly 50% for the game. UNC oly had 69 possessions for the game. Scoring 93 points comes out to an average of 1.35 points per possession. That is the 2nd best PPP UNC has had this season. The first was 1.53 against Chaminade. Scoring 1.35 PPP is extremely efficient. It’s that kind of basketball that they’re going to need in order to beat upper tier teams during the remainder of the season.
One area that UNC continues to struggle in is perimeter defense. Virginia shot 12-21 from 3-point range and almost allowed them a decent comeback. Allowing a 57% 3-point performance is unacceptable. UNC will have to step up their defense on the perimeter especially when they play teams known to shoot the long ball such as Duke. Overall the Tar Heels played a solid game all-around. If they keep this up I can see an ACC tournament championship in the near future.