UNC Basketball: Tar Heels vs Shaw Game Review


The Tar Heels faced Division II Shaw in an exhibition game at the Dean Smith Center for their only official scrimmage before the real games start on November 6th.  With all eyes on the starting lineup head coach Roy Williams brought out a lineup of Marcus Paige, Dexter Strickland, Reggie Bullock, James Michael McAdoo and Desmond Hubert.

Oct 26, 2012; Chapel Hill, NC, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels forward Joel James (0) on the court during warm ups before playing Shaw in an exhibition game at the Dean E. Smith Center. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-US PRESSWIRE

UNC struggled from the field early, especially from down town going just 1-8 early from 3-point land.  What they lacked on the perimeter they made up for inside.  Freshman Joel James looked terrific in the post with a soft touch around the basket.  James showed good patience in taking what the defense game him.

Brice Johnson looked good as well on both ends of floor and rebounding the ball well.  He’s very active on the glass and isn’t afraid to take it to the defense in the painted area.

Shaw stayed with Carolina in the first half and built an eight point lead early.  After UNC put together a string of defensive stops and hit on some offensive opportunities the Tar Heels were able to build a ten point lead.  Shaw did not go away and closed the lead to within one before UNC built the lead back up to four at the half.

Marcus Paige looked good running the point but Roy was careful with him spreading the minutes out at PG between him, Strickland and Luke Davis.  Strickland and Leslie McDonald looked better than I thought they would in terms of their health and being in better basketball shape than I anticipated going into the game.

The story of the first half was essentially a slow start by Carolina and missed shots.  UNC got the shots they wanted for the most part but were mostly unable to convert on their opportunities.

Shaw came out strong to start the second half taking a six point lead.  Shortly after Shaw took the lead, PJ Hairston started to heat up from three point land and Joel James re-entered the game and looked really good.  UNC leading 30-2 with James in the game mid way through the second half.   UNC went on a 24-2 run sparked by improved perimeter shooting and defensive stops that led to several successful fast break opportunities.

The improved play continued in the second half as UNC’s run extended to 33-4 as they led 71-47.  The second half was a stark contrast of what we saw in the first half as Carolina began knocking down the shots they missed earlier in the game.  The transition game was working and the Heels defense was much better.

Overall Strickland led the offense with better flow for the most part at the point in the first half.  Paige still has a lot to learn about running this offense and leading the team but still looked good and showed a lot of promise. In the second half he seemed like a new man and in my eyes it’s obvious that Paige is light years ahead of where Kendall Marshall was in terms of scoring and defense.

JP Tokoto provided the highlight dunk everybody was waiting for on a Vince Carter like jaw dropping dunk.

It’s amazing how close this game really was until mid way through the second half when UNC went on a big time run.  My biggest takeaway from this game is how much better the team is overall with Joel James on the court and how good the freshman looked.  McAdoo led UNC with 16 & 8. Joel James had 13 & 7, McDonald scored 12.

Desmond Hubert went from starting the game to playing with four walk on’s in the final minute of play.  You would think it’s safe to say that Joel James is taking that starting spot away from him soon.

Final Score: UNC 81 Shaw 54