UNC Basketball: Tar Heels Fall to NC State 91-83


The North Carolina Tar Heels went back on the road to face in state rival the NC State Wolfpack.  Freshman point guard Marcus Paige rolled his right ankle in practice on Friday but was in the starting lineup for the Tar Heels.

Jan 26, 2013; Raleigh, NC, USA; North Carolina State Wolfpack guard Lorenzo Brown (2) dribbles as North Carolina Tar Heels guard Marcus Paige (5) defends during the first half at PNC Arena. Mandatory Credit: Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

Keeping an eye on the rotation: Brice Johnson took McAdoo’s spot who went out with early foul trouble.  P.J. Hairston, Joel James and J.P. Tokoto checked into the game at the 14 minute mark as Roy Williams went with wholesale substitutions early.  Roy took a big risk by inserting McAdoo back into the lineup at the 11 minute mark.

How it went down: Less than two minutes into the game James Michael McAdoo drew two fouls defending C.J. Leslie who went right after him early.   UNC had no answer for Leslie or Richard Howell in the first half.  State owned Carolina for the first ten minutes of the game before UNC went on a run and cut the lead from 12 to four.  Just as things were looking up for UNC, State went on a 20-2 run to take a 22 point lead with two minutes left in the first half.

The Tar Heels did an awful job of getting back defensively, NC State lived in transition and took it to UNC beating them at their own game.  State scored 20 points in transition compared to zero by Carolina in the first 20 minutes of play.

The Wolfpack dominated the boards in the first half with a 23 to 14 advantage.  C.J. Leslie shot a ridiculous nine free throws.  UNC shot just 30% (10-33) from the field while NC State shot 45% (16-35).

Score at the half: UNC 26 NC State 45

The second half was more of the same as UNC continued to turn the ball over, fail to get back on defense and allow NC State to do whatever they wanted in the paint.  For the first eight or so minutes of the game it looked as though this would be an Indiana like blowout.  UNC then went on a 26-9 run over a six minute period but still trailed by 11 with just under six minutes remaining.

After cutting it to nine State went on another run taking as much as a 16 point lead again led by a dagger four point play by Scott Wood.  UNC had one last run in them cutting it to seven with one minute left

A valiant effort by the Heels who trailed by as much as 28 to cut it to five with less than a minute to go but it was too little, too late.  In the end this was another game where Carolina got killed during stretches but showed signs of life and played up to their potential in others but it just wasn’t enough.

Reggie Bullock did nothing to assert himself as a leader on this team, at times I had to find him on the court to verify that he wasn’t sitting on the bench.  Bullock finished with ten points on 4-12 shooting and finally started to move around and put up some shots late in the game but stood around for most of the contest.

Final Score: UNC 81 NC State 93

State won the rebounding battle 36-29, hit 7-13 from downtown and connected on 20-23 attempts from the line.  Both teams assisted on a good percentage of their field goals with UNC tallying an assist on 21 of 33 FGs with NC State totaling 22 assists on 32 FGs.   P.J. Hairston led the way in the scoring department for Carolina with 19 points on 6-10 from the field including 5-8 from three.

Key Takeaways: The substitution patters were awful, UNC failed to get back on defense for most of the contest and got beat at their own game.  Roy Williams let Luke Davis and Jackson Simmons play for far too long, I realize taking the starters out to send a message might have been necessary, Davis was terrible during his stretch at the point UNC committed six turnovers in seven possessions with Davis committing three of them.

Player of the game: State had five players in double figures and you could give this to C.J. Leslie, T.J. Warren or Lorenzo Brown but I’m going with Richard Howell who scored 16 points on 7-14 shooting and grabbed a game high 14 rebounds.

Up Next: UNC stays on the road and heads to Boston College to play the Eagles on Tuesday January 29th at 9:00 PM on ESPNU.