You know they made that a lot harder than it had to be.
It is easy to dwell on OSU cutting the lead to two late. That can be hung on Larry Drew missing FTs and UNC looking like a bunch of fifth graders trying to break the Buckeye press at the end of the game. That will get better or at least it should get better. What happened in the final two minutes or so was pure panic. Roy said earlier this week that none of these guys save Deon Thompson and Marcus Ginyard have been through crunch time. All you can take away from the handling of OSU's rally is the Heels survived. If you can get through it once, chances are you can learn from it and be better at it next time out. And yeah, UNC maintained the 20 turnovers per game average. Keep hoping that will improve at some point. It should. I think.
Despite the ugly nature of the game, we saw a lot of positive signs on UNC's side mixed in with the Big Teness of the contest. Offensively speaking Marcus Ginyard and Will Graves both showed they can be scoring options. Will they do it consistently? We will have to wait and see on that but you have to really like the way Graves stepped up, created his own shot and was a threat to score from anywhere on the court. Likewise, Ginyard was 3-5 from three. Alongside Graves, UNC had some legitimate threats from outside with the Heels shooting 7-15 from three for the game. Larry Drew ended up with 11 points, hit a key three late but missed four free throws UNC really sort of needed at the time. Drew also had five turnovers so with him on one hand you see some good but on the other you keep hoping he will improve.
Deon Thompson had a huge game with 15 points and 12 boards even though he was only 4-12 from the floor. Thompson also made an excellent skip pass out to Drew for a key three pointer. Ed Davis found himself in foul trouble and was a non-factor in the 2nd half. The good news is UNC weathered losing Davis with a good mix of Tyler Zeller and Travis Wear. UNC got spot performances from Dexter Strickland and Justin Watts(five points in only six minutes) as well. Overall, Roy is still using a lot of players and the offense lacks a certain degree of flow. The Heels strike me a little unsure at times. Too often Tar Heel players are picking up their dribble and then have to take the best available pass which may not be the best pass for the execution of the offense. They are also just plain shaky with the basketball, often times fumbling it or throwing the bad pass. Even with these shortcomings, UNC relied on the interior game effectively and got enough balance from the perimeter scoring to be generally efficient with the offense. Still, the offense has a ways to go.
The upside is UNC plays good defense and it showed tonight. OSU did miss some shots but at the same time UNC did a great job disrupting OSU. Evan Turner ultimately managed 23 points but it was a painful ride to get there which included 10 turnovers. Marcus Ginyard with help from Larry Drew made Turner's stint at PG in this game a living hell. Only after Thad Matta decided to move Turner from the point did the much hyped junior get his offensive game on track. Unfortunately he also fouled out and even 23 points and 11 rebounds is not enough to cast of the stench caused by double digit miscues. For OSU this game was lost on the 7-29 shooting by William Buford and Jon Diebler. Credit to the defense for their handiwork in this one.
UNC mvoes on to face Syracuse which will be more zone for the Heels to try and crack. Regardless, UNC snagged a win over a ranked team so this little trip is already a success.