UNC Basketball: Heels vs NC State-The Kendall Marshall Show



Coming in the UNC Tar Heels once again faced a must win ACC road game to maintain a tie atop the conference.  And once again, tonight, the Heels showed resiliency and toughness on the road.  This was a rematch of a highly talked about 74-55 Carolina win earlier in the season in Chapel Hill.  Roy Williams cautioned that this is a totally different team this time around and my expectation was a tough game throughout.

How it went down: The Heels came storming out in the first half and this looked like a blowout early.  Everything was clicking for UNC offensively as they nailed 6 of their first 9 attempts from down town and had the transition game clicking.  Just like the Miami game, State held around and made some nice runs throughout the game.  After trailing by as many as 15, State cut the lead to as low as two points in the first, and six in the second on separate runs. 

Just like State kept hanging around, UNC again stayed focused and regained the lead.  The Heels have to be gaining some confidence back, after closing out every game since the Duke letdown well.   Harrison Barnes was again aggressive offensively in this one.  Barnes now seems willing to take more of the offensive load on himself.  He hasn’t fully unleashed it yet, but I feel like the “Black Falcon” suit is coming out of the closet soon. 

About mid way through the second half the Heels were able to stabilize the lead and keep it at double digits the rest of the way.  The team played hard tonight for 40 minutes, they stayed focus for the majority and things seem to be coming together for Carolina.  Roy played all the starters significant minutes tonight.  Williams went with a nine man rotation and only one reserved logged double digit minutes. 

Key Takeaways: CJ Leslie and the NC State big men really challenged Tyler Zeller and John Henson inside and did a nice job.  Zeller was pretty much taken out of the game offensively and was quiet most of the night.  NC State actually out rebounded Carolina 17-10 on the offensive glass and 39-38 overall.

Reggie Bullock did a great job on Scott Wood holding him to just 3 points on the night.  I took a lot of joy watching Scotty boy struggle, outside of every player on Duke’s roster, Wood is my most hated player in college basketball.  You will hear a lot about Kendall Marshall, Harrison Barnes and John Henson in this one.  But Bullock had one of his best overall performances of his career.  He scored 11 points, and maybe more importantly went 3-6 from three, grabbed eight rebounds to go along with his outstanding defensive performance.

Player of the game: I think I gave this one away in the title.  It was the Kendall Marshall show as the sophomore PG had his best career game tonight.  Marshall dished out 13 assists and scored a career high 22 points.  He did all the right against State and played a near flawless game.  Teams have been challenging Marshall to shoot all season long and Roy Williams has been encouraging him to take the open shots.  Marshall went 7-8 from the field including 4-5 from beyond the arc and 4-4 from the line with zero turnovers in a masterful performance.

Looking ahead: UNC plays Virginia on Saturday and closes out the season against Maryland before the finale March 3rd at Duke.  State plays Georgia Tech Saturday.

Box Score:

North Carolina Tar Heels
John Henson, F336-110-02-42131022214
Harrison Barnes, F367-142-54-5231011220
Tyler Zeller, F313-70-08-8181044414
Reggie Bullock, G324-73-60-0382110011
Kendall Marshall, G387-84-54-40213100122
Justin Watts, G60-10-00-222000000
Stilman White, G20-00-00-000100010
P.J. Hairston, G61-51-30-000000113
James Michael McAdoo, F161-40-00-102010132
North Carolina State Wolfpack
C.J. Williams, G284-70-10-022030248
Richard Howell, F274-60-01-3310100049
Scott Wood, F351-51-40-003401113
Lorenzo Brown, G366-211-65-8354101318
C.J. Leslie, F299-170-06-95120010524
Alex Johnson, G232-41-20-000220005
DeShawn Painter, C193-100-01-336001027
Thomas de Thaey, F10-00-00-000000010
Tyler Harris, F20-00-00-011000000

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