Tar Heel Basketball Game Review: UNC at Maryland


UNC Tar Heels 83 Maryland Terrapins 74 FINAL (scroll down for the box score)

The Tar Heels traveled to Maryland to play the Terrapins at the Comcast Center. Tyler Zeller  led UNC with 20 points.  Kendall Marshall racked up 15 assists.  The game was close at the half with the score UNC 37MD 40.  MD was aggressive and did a nice job of attacking with the perimeter defense of Carolina with constant motion.  MD swung the ball very well in the half court and found the open shooter consistently in the first half.  The Terps limited turnovers and were extremely efficient in the first half.  They took a three point lead into the half with the crowd going wild.  Once again the pressure was on the Heels at the half.  In the second half, MD started out strong stretching the lead to nine early. 

Harrison Barnes came out of the game early in the second favoring his ankle he injured against Wake.  Tar Heel Nation was able to breath a sigh of relief about four minutes later when Harrison returned to the game.  It was Barnes that put UNC on top after trailing for 20 minutes with a big time three point shot.  UNC got next to nothing from it’s bench.  James Michael McAdoo played better overall but didn’t put up much on the box score.  PJ Hairston struggled entirely, even missing a dunk.  The game ended with the Tar Heels big three putting the game away with some clutch shots in the last three minutes. 

How it went down: UNC started off strong offensively, feeding Tyler Zeller who with his size is impossible for MD to guard.  But an aggressive and confident Maryland team at home didn’t back down.  You can tell UNC is turning the corner in terms of playing with passion and not allowing themselves to get overwhelmed on the road.  Carolina hit the court with the same hustle, passion and defensive effort they’ve had since they were crushed by Florida State.  Kendall Marshall started out extremely strong but had a shaky great overall game.  Marshall had four assists and three points by the time Carolina put 12 points on the board.  He took the ball to the rim a few times and demonstrated he has the ability to score when he wants, when Marshall knocked down a three after a timeout I had to rewind like I always do to make sure it was actually him.  Good sign he’s starting to score more than four or five points in games recently.  Marshall had a lot of turnovers in this game and the announcers were all over him.  To me only about half of them were on Kendall.  I wish basketball had a better system for calculating turnovers, when someone drops the ball or clearly isn’t ready for a nice pass, the “error” should go on them.

Then UNC about seven minutes into the game, reverted to some old bad habits.  MD began to out hustle UNC as the Heels play got increasingly sloppy on the court.  Maryland took the lead around the eight minute mark.  Freshman James Michael McAdoo looked a lot more fluid and natural on the floor today.  The four days between games obviously did him some good.  It stands to reason that three games in six days with new scouting reports every day or two to absorb may have overwhelmed JMM recently.  Early the Tar Heels seemed intent on feeding Zeller and John Henson in the post where they over matched Maryland.  Then UNC reverted to it’s impatience in the half court that I am growing increasingly worried about as the season goes on.

With the score UNC 37MD 40 at the half, UNC needed a strong start to the second.  In the second half, MD started out strong stretching the lead to nine early.  Maryland started double teaming Zeller who was the only consistent player in the first half.  It resulted in both teams running into some foul trouble early in the second.  The Heels were lucky the lead wasn’t 12 or 15 early in the second as MD tried forcing several tough passes that ended in unnecessary turnovers.  UNC finally took the lead around the 10 minute mark on a run that saw John Henson throw it down hard before Barnes took the lead with a nice three pointer.  A nice 13-3 run put UNC up seven, but Maryland just would not go away.  Finally Barnes, Zeller and Henson were just too much for Maryland to overcome.  UNC clamped down on the boards and began to dominate like they should around the four minute mark.

Biggest Takeaways: I’ll beat this drum until it either A)Breaks and I can’t beat it anymore or B) The Tar Heels start making some Free Throws.  Every single game I am amazed how many points UNC leaves on the floor by missing so many FTs.  I also continue to get annoyed at Roy Williams during these stretches.  His refusal to call a TO when the team is reeling and obviously needs direction baffles me.  Yelling from the sideline is good sometimes, but each team is given timeouts for a reason.

It’s time for Roy to start using them.  I’ve heard the “Roy utilizes Dean Smith’s TO strategy” Ok fine.  Then why doesn’t he utilize all the rest of Dean’s strategies then?  Why doesn’t he institute a minimum number of passes in the half court before a shot rule like Dean did?  College basketball is a whole lot different now than it was in Dean’s day.  Roy needs to embody UNC basketball and the University like Dean did and carry on the tradition he laid in Chapel Hill.  Sticking to his game strategies no matter what is stupid.

Roy also needs to lock Henson in the gym and make him shoot 500-1000 foul shots every single day.  He’s the worst shooter at the line I’ve seen in a long time, someone needs to work on his rhythm and form with him.  If I coached this team I’d start and end each and every practice with a foul shooting line.  You miss, you run, repeat and rinse.

And the two biggest takeaways of all, this Tar Heels team is not good enough on the road yet.  And by on the road I mean, literally on the road, playing a team that doesn’t reside in NC.  Aside from maybe Duke, Carolina will have fans at each and every game they play in the state of North Carolina.  Tar Heel fans nearly drowned out the band Tuesday at Wake Forest.  But, they may not be ready to dominate and win the way they should on the road.  But today proved this team can gather it’s focus and allow their talents to overcome lesser opponents.  This game was definitely a confidence builder, they can now look to this game, as a sign that they are in fact a tough team and can get it done.

Oh and the NCAA needs to fire the referees from this game.  Bad calls on both teams, called a weak game and slowed down a game that could have been much more exciting.

Player of the game: I was and probably should give the POG to Zeller.  But with just a couple seconds left in the game.  John Henson threw down the big dunk with 2 seconds left that turned it for me.  Henson gets the honor.

What’s Next: The game we’ve all been waiting for is next!  Duke will play North Carolina at the Dean Smith Center on February 8th.  Keeping It Heel will bring you tons of coverage leading up to the big game.  UNC is now tied with Florida State for the ACC lead at 7-1 heading into their match up with Duke.

Box Score:

North Carolina Tar Heels
Tyler Zeller, F7-120-08-9370023422
Harrison Barnes, F5-152-36-8480102318
John Henson, F8-170-01-64121012317
Reggie Bullock, G5-101-30-0461101111
Kendall Marshall, G3-71-22-3031620649
James Michael McAdoo, F2-40-00-024000004
P.J. Hairston, G1-50-20-014210022
Stilman White, G0-00-00-000000010
Justin Watts, G0-00-00-001000000
Maryland Terrapins
Terrell Stoglin, G8-211-83-4164113020
Sean Mosley, G3-61-34-4051101511
James Padgett, F3-80-03-644100129
Pe’Shon Howard, G3-62-40-104021348
Ashton Pankey, F0-10-02-212000032
Alex Len, C5-80-02-2390042312
Nick Faust, G3-80-15-6021103511
Berend Weijs, C0-10-01-211001011
Mychal Parker, F0-20-00-024000100

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