Tyler Zeller shoots as Maryland Terrapins center Berend Weijs (10) and guard Sean Mosley (14) defend in the second half. The Tar Heels defeated the Terrapins 88-64.
All in all, I'd say Senior Night went pretty well. Seniors Patrick Crouch and David Dupont both sank threes, from a few steps behind the arc, at that. Justin Watts, well, he threw a pass so errant Roy Williams threw away his jacket, and Stewart Cooper got jinxed by the photo on the game thread. But all started, all got standing ovations, and all capped off great home careers in Chapel Hill.
Oh, and Tyler Zeller blew the doors off the place.
Making a strong case for ACC Player of the Year, Zeller scored 30 points, 8 rebounds, 3 blocks, and 2 steals, leaving time to take a curtain call with a ridiculous six and a half minutes left in the game. Twenty of those points came from the free throw line (out of 23 tries, third most in UNC history); the Terrapins had no answer for the big man, so fouled liberally and hoped for the best. They did not achieve this "best." Instead, Maryland was subjected to a 21-1 run by the Heels that completely destroyed what had been a pretty lackadaisical game up until that point. Outside of Nick Faust's rather hot shooting, very little worked for the Terps.
The other mark of note was Kendall Marshall's expected eclipsing of Ed Cota's assist record at Carolina. Marshall needed four assists to surpass Cota and it appeared he was keeping track. After getting three, Marshall threw a couple of dramatic but ill-advised passes that raised Williams' ire; it would have to wait until the second half and a routine pass to Barnes before he set the record. Marshall would finish the night with eight dimes, also passing Steve Blake and Booby Hurley on the ACC single-season list. He now stands ten assists shy of Chris Corchiani's total, and fourteen from ACC leader Craig Neal. Odds are, more records are going to fall.
Other than those performances, it was a relatively subdued outing from UNC. Harrison Barnes had his second off game in a row, shooting 3 for 8 for 10 points. The Heels also gave up a fair number of rebounds to Maryland, especially on the defensive end. Both are small problems, easily overcome. But you'd still like the team firing on all cylinders before the biggest game of the regular season.
That's something to worry about in the days ahead, however. For tonight we can celebrate a great Senior Night performance from Carolina's strongest senior. All of the Tar Heel seniors went out just they way you'd like them too; now we see whether they can end their season on the same high note